Through two games, the Jaguars running game has been nearly doubled up by its opponents and the team's run the ball/stop the run identity has been replaced by don't run the ball and don't stop the run. In Jack Del Rio's fifth season as the team's head coach, the Jaguars have never been more out of character than they are right now.
The Jaguars take the league's 21st-ranked rushing offense and dead-last rush-defense to Denver this weekend, to do battle with a Broncos team that is number one in the league in offense and number two in defense.
"It's still early in the season. It's not clicking as well as we'd like. Hopefully, it comes at the right time," running back Fred Taylor said of the Jaguars' running game.
This would be the right time. The Broncos are number one against the pass but 27th against the run. Stopping the run is not what the Broncos do best, either.
"I saw that," Taylor said. "We watch the film. We know what they're so-called weaknesses are. They're still kind of finding themselves, too. We'd like to try to exploit them. We're going to take our game plan in there and try to catch them. We're going to go in there with the mindset that we want to establish the run."
Last season, Taylor and rookie Maurice Jones-Drew combined for 2,087 yards rushing. Through two games this season, they've combined for just 135 yards and a 3.4. yards per carry average.
"We all have to get on the same page," Taylor said, referring to himself, Jones-Drew and an offensive line that is without center Brad Meester and has a new right tackle in Tony Pashos.
"It's a big game. We need to win because it can count for a whole lot later in the season," Taylor said, referring to playoff tie-breakers.
The Jaguars (1-1) must win to avoid falling two games behind the AFC South leader. The Colts (2-0) and Texans (2-0) play against each other in Houston on Sunday, while Tennessee (1-1) is at New Orleans on Monday night.
Denver has won two games on final-play field goals. The Broncos won at Buffalo in week one, 15-14, barely getting the ball snapped before time ran out, as Jason Elam kicked the game-winner.
Last Sunday, coach Mike Shanahan got a timeout with one second remaining on the play clock in overtime, nullifying a Raider kick that would've won the game. Shanahan's icing tactic work as Sebastian Janikowski missed his next kick and the Broncos went on to win, 23-20.
"They've always started fast. That's also a challenge," Taylor said of Sunday's game at Invesco Field (76,125).
The Jaguars and Broncos faced each other early in the season in Jacksonville in the 2004 and '05 seasons, splitting those games. Kickoff on Sunday is set for 4:05 p.m. Eastern Time.