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Jags know significance of opener


Though their thoughts are with teammate Richard Collier, who continues to battle for his life in a Jacksonville hospital, the Jaguars would appear to have a sharp focus on Sunday's important season-opener at Tennessee.

"What is the significance?" running back Fred Taylor said in repeating a reporter's question. "The significance is that it's a divisional game and it's the season-opener. This is a game in which we have to be at our best because there's more at stake. Starting fast is the only thing that can help us."

As they await good news on Collier's recovery from gunshot wounds he sustained in the wee hours of Tuesday morning, the Jaguars know they have to be fully prepared for one of the premier games on their schedule. It is one of six AFC South games that could determine the division title.

"The best way to honor (Collier) is to take care of business, go to Tennessee and get a victory," defensive end Paul Spicer said.

Taylor and running mate Maurice Jones-Drew will be running against a formidable Titans defensive front that is led by defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth.

"He's a beast. He's definitely the best defensive tackle in the game," Taylor said of Haynesworth.

Jones-Drew shared Taylor's sentiments. "He's a great player. When he's on it, he's on it," Jones-Drew said.

"We have a game plan for him. It'll be a challenge for him as well as their whole defense," Taylor added.

The challenge on defense for the Jaguars is a Titans running game that led the league in the preseason. The Titans were fifth in the league in rushing last season; 27th in pass-offense.

"You want to put hits on (quarterback Vince Young), put hits on the running backs and let them know it's going to be a long day," Spicer said.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher heightened the drama for Sunday's game with this quote from his conference call with Jacksonville media: "They're (Jaguars) an elite team and they're a playoff team and we don't see them any differently than we see the Colts."

Clearly, Sunday's game is as important for the Titans – maybe even more important since it's a home game – as it is for the Jaguars. If the goal is to win the division title, and it realistically is for the Jaguars and the Titans, then winning division games is of critical importance. The Jaguars were 2-4 within the division last year and have only had one winning season within the division in its six-year history.

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