The Jaguars are moving into their future, and Mark Brunell knows he's not included.
"I would never turn down an opportunity on the field if I was given one, but I don't think I'll be given one. The team is moving on into its future, which I'm not a part of. My days are numbered in the teal and black," Brunell said today when asked if he expects to play in another game before this season ends.
Fans have suggested Brunell be given a farewell start in one of the Jaguars' final two home games, but Brunell said that doesn't interest him.
"If I'm going to take the field, I want it to be because they think I give them the best chance to win. This is a business. We're in this to win games. You don't just do it (for sentimental reasons)," Brunell said.
What's left of this season has nothing to do with sentimentality and everything to do with producing a positive attitude for the offseason. Coach Jack Del Rio made it clear in today's media conference that he wants his team to continue its improved play of the second half of this season.
"How you finish in December is important, for how it carries over into next year, for how you feel," Del Rio said. "You want to learn how to win in December, and we want to learn now."
The Jaguars are 2-2 in the second half of the season, after a 1-7 start. Their improved play actually began with the final game of the first half of the season, in a 24-17 loss in Baltimore. Since then, the Jaguars have fashioned one of the best defenses in the league, allowing only 33 points in their last three games.
What if the Jaguars could start the season over? Could they be the playoff contender Del Rio thought they would be when the season began?
"You don't get to re-start," Del Rio said, refusing to participate in the what-if game.
"I do believe we've made progress in several significant areas, and there's still progress to be made. I think the guys are feeling good about playing well. They want to play well," he added.
This Sunday, they'll have a chance to give the franchise its first two-game winning streak since November of last year, when the Jaguars defeated Washington and Houston consecutively. The opponent, again, will be Houston, this time at Alltel Stadium.
The Texans presented a long injury report today. It includes quarterback David Carr, who is listed as "questionable" with a right shoulder injury. Also "questionable" is rookie running back sensation Domanick Davis (ankle).
Meanwhile, the Jaguars' injury report shows only Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala (knee) and Mike Peterson (shoulder), both of whom are "questionable," and Jason Craft (knee) who is "probable."
"Part of it is good fortune and part of it is we have an approach we believe in," Del Rio said of his team's limited injuries this season. "You can work that plan and approach and get a lot of injuries. You still have to be fortunate.
"We've stayed in pads all year. I believe in cutting reps where you need to and cutting drills where you can get violent collisions, and still get the work you need," he added.