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Jags special teams facing challenge


Roscoe Parrish got the last Jaguars special teams coach fired. Joe DeCamillis will take his shot at the Buffalo return man this Sunday.

"He's a dynamic player. I'm going to try to not get fired," DeCamillis, the Jaguars' current special teams coordinator, said.

The man DeCamillis replaced, Pete Rodriguez, jokes about having returned from Buffalo following a Jaguars loss in 2006 that was highlighted by a Parrish 82-yard return of a punt for a touchdown. Rodriguez tells of walking into his home and asking his wife, "So where do you wanna live?"

Parrish can do that to a special teams coach. And so can Terrence McGee and rookie Leodis McKelvin, too. The season is only one week old and Parrish has already returned a punt 63 yards for a touchdown. McGee is the Bills' Pro-Bowl kickoff-returner, while McKelvin has yet to have a chance to show what he can do.

"It's like a trifecta," DeCamillis said. "McKelvin is the best returner I've seen coming out of college since (Devin) Hester. The other two are Pro-Bowl guys."

DeCamillis' special teams didn't produce a touchdown return in week one or a snappy fake-field goal touchdown play, as the Bills' did, but Jaguars special teams return and coverage units were exceptional in the Jaguars' loss to Tennessee.

Rookie return man Brian Witherspoon flashed go-all-the-way speed, averaging 41.3 yards per return on three kickoff returns and returning two punts for 45 yards. Witherspoon will try to match Parrish, while Maurice Jones-Drew may be deployed as a kickoff-returner.

"He had a great game in the first one, but I'm not going to, as Jack (Del Rio) says, bake him a cake, yet," DeCamillis said of Witherspoon.

Bills vs. Jags could be a special teams event. That's how good each club's special teams are.

In the Jaguars' case, their special teams play may be of heightened performance, considering the injuries and struggles on offense. Defense and special teams may be expected to shoulder a greater burden on Sunday.

"I hope they understand that every week. Every play counts. We don't have a second down to make it up or a third down to make it up," DeCamillis said.

Josh Scobee missed a chip-shot field goal in Tennessee but DeCamillis isn't concerned about that failure. "He's a pro. He kicked off great. He's right where he should be," DeCamillis said.

Second-year punter Adam Podlesh, however, needs to improve on his most recent performance. Podlesh was inconsistent as a rookie but finished with a strong performance in the postseason.

"He didn't have a great game last week. After the playoffs last season, we hoped that would carry into the first game of the year and it didn't. They have to weather the storm," DeCamillis said of young punters. "If they don't, they're out of the league."

This Sunday's game is a major test for Podlesh and all of the Jaguars' special teams players. The head-to-head confrontation with the Bills' special teams will be a featured attraction.

"We're going up against some of the best special teams of the last several years," DeCamillis said.

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