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Jags young and getting younger


A young team continues to get younger and a quartet of rookie receivers are driving home that point this week.

Another week of roster reshuffling has produced mind-boggling roster change. Twenty-six of the 53 players on the current roster were not with the Jaguars at the end of last season, eight of the 26 joined the Jaguars since the start of training camp and 14 of the 26 are rookies.

At the receiving positions, draft picks Mike Thomas, Jarett Dillard and Zach Miller are likely to see their first action of the season, and Tiquan Underwood is waiting in reserve.

"Mike Thomas is a guy I've been wanting to get up," coach Jack Del Rio said, referring to making Thomas part of the active roster on game day. "We'll definitely have him up this week. Tiquan is up on the active roster as our fifth wide receiver. There's a good chance Dillard will play this week. We're going to give them a chance to compete. It's great to have Zach back as a tight end."

The release of Nate Hughes on Monday, less than 24 hours after his consecutive-plays failure in Sunday's loss to Arizona, and the loss of Troy Williamson to a torn labrum he sustained on Sunday, resulted in the promotions of Thomas, Dillard and Underwood, the Jaguars' fourth, fifth and seventh-round draft picks. Miller, the team's sixth-round pick, has recovered from the leg injury that has sidelined him since the preseason opener.

"I'm more than ready to go," Thomas said.

"It's something I've been waiting for," Dillard said.

Young team? That's an understatement. The notion the Jaguars are in a youth movement continues to be reinforced. Star running back Maurice Jones-Drew, however, will hear none of it.

"You play the game to win, regardless of youth movement. I play to win now. Why do you think I'm so upset now?" Jones-Drew said. "My aura is red. It's usually green."

Jones-Drew is going to see a lot more red this weekend when the Jaguars travel to Houston to play the Texans. For the sixth consecutive year, the Texans have designated the Jaguars as their "Battle Red Day" opponent.

"It reminds me of Christmas, Santa Claus," coach Jack Del Rio said when asked if he's insulted by having his team targeted for the "Battle Red" promotion. "It's good stuff," Del Rio added.

Coming off an upset win in Tennessee, the 1-1 Texans will be attempting to claim a victory that'll put the franchise over .500 and give it hope of becoming a playoff contender. The Jaguars are looking for a win that'll ease the pain of an 0-2 start.

"We're looking forward to the next opportunity to get out there and get this thing right," Del Rio said.

"Sometimes it's OK to be on the road because you know everybody hates you, know you're going to be booed," quarterback David Garrard said.

The Jaguars were booed by a sparse home-opener crowd as they left the field at halftime this past Sunday, trailing 24-3. The slow start, low attendance and fan dissent have caused a negative swirl the Jaguars desperately need to reverse.

"Whenever you feel like you have a negative swirl, it's terrible. You want your fans to be in attendance. You want sellouts but we don't control that," Garrard said. "We don't want a losing culture to set in. It all boils down to doing your job."

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