Hugh Douglas knows the importance of getting pressure on Peyton Manning. Last season, Manning led the Colts to an upset win in Philadelphia over Douglas' Eagles. This Sunday in Indianapolis, Douglas will attempt to return the favor.
"That's the game I guess sent him to the Pro Bowl … the way everyone was talking about the way he was calling audibles," Douglas said. "That's the key to any game," he added of a pass-rush, which the Jaguars didn't have against Drew Bledsoe last Sunday. "Any time a quarterback can sit back there and get his second and third reads, you've got a problem."
Douglas will try to lead that pass-rush this Sunday against Manning, who has owned the Jaguars. Manning is 3-0 against the Jags, including a record-setting performance on Monday night football in 2000.
The matchup is between teams at opposite ends of the record spectrum. The Colts are 2-0 and alone in first place in the AFC South. The Jaguars are 0-2 and in sole possession of the division's bottom spot.
"We need a win and we need it in a hurry. Hopefully, we can right this ship this weekend, but it won't be easy," Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell said. "They're fast, they're aggressive and they've got some players. They're better than they were last year," Brunell added of the Colts defense, which holds down the league's number seven spot heading into week three action.
The Jaguars began their preparation for Sunday's game this morning, a day after a mini-purge of the roster that resulted in the departure of Marlon McCree, the Jaguars' starting free safety the previous two seasons.
"It's part of the business," Brunell said of the roster moves. "It's difficult to see but it happens a lot. It comes down to trust. You have to trust that those making the decisions are doing so in the best interests of the team. No one is exempt," Brunell added.
Jaguars middle linebacker Mike Peterson experienced a similar feeling last March when the Colts allowed Peterson to escape in free agency without even making an offer. "Of course it bothered me," Peterson said.
He'll be making his RCA Dome return this Sunday and, from his perspective, whatever success the Jags expect to achieve will begin with stopping running back Edgerrin James. "It's stop the run first. We're going to go into the game the same as we did last week. Stop the run and force them to throw the ball," Peterson added.
With that, the burden of proof will fall on the Jaguars' pass-rush and pass-defense.