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Jaguars stand firm


There's no back-off in Paul Spicer or in the Jaguars.

"If they want to use that as bulletin board material, go ahead. You shouldn't need what somebody else said to motivate you. I'm here to play football. I'm not worried about what they did four months ago," Spicer told reporters on Tuesday.

Spicer was made a controversial figure on Monday when comments he made four months ago were resurrected by ESPN, with whom Spicer did an interview in which Spicer did not retract his criticism of the Patriots for the season-opening "Spygate" incident.

"You don't have to worry about that," Spicer said when asked if the Jaguars will be able to re-focus themselves quickly following Saturday's thrilling win in Pittsburgh. "The team will be focused," he added.

To a man, the Jaguars put no stock in the possible impact of bulletin board material.

"I could care less," running back Maurice Jones-Drew said. "All that's said doesn't really matter. What matters is when you put those pads on and start hitting. We're just blessed to have an opportunity to be on the same field with the New England Patriots," Jones-Drew added with a hint of a smile.

The Jaguars are an 11-5 wild-card team that will be attempting to etch its name in history as the team that ruined the Patriots' perfect season. At 16-0, the Patriots will begin the first leg of what they hope will be a three-leg journey to the Super Bowl title and immortality, when they host the Jaguars at Gillette Stadium this Saturday night. Should the Jaguars win, however, the Patriots will quickly become an also-ran.

"We're not playing a record, we're playing a team," running back Fred Taylor said.

Taylor and Jones-Drew will be central figures in Saturday's game, as the Jaguars are expected to lean hard on a running game that would dominate time of possession and limit NFL MVP Tom Brady's playing time.

"Our team philosophy is to try to establish the run and stop the run. You change nothing. We're going to try doing what we've been doing all year," said Taylor, who struggled with leg cramps in Pittsburgh and was unable to play in the Jaguars' final two possessions.

"It just came out of the blue on me; trying to break tackles, running after interceptions. I ran about 60 yards on that (interception). That's when I locked up," Taylor said.

Cornerback Rashean Mathis turned in his best performance of the season, intercepting two passes and returning one of them 63 yards for a touchdown. In the second half of the season, Mathis has been assigned to cover the opposition's top receiver, and that would mean Mathis would draw Randy Moss this week.

"If you're a cornerback and you don't like teams that throw the ball, you're in the wrong position," Mathis said.

Make no mistake, the Patriots throw the ball; nobody throws it as well. Brady set an NFL record with 50 touchdown passes this season. He's only thrown eight interceptions and he has a passer rating of 117.2

"He's just operating at a very high level. He's making sound decisions. You have to work hard to find anything he's not doing at a high level," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said of Brady.

"We respect them a lot but we're not going to give them too much respect. If you're giving them too much respect, you're lying down," Mathis said.

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