Dirk Koetter sounded like a man who's at peace with his offense, and that sounds like a good thing as the Jaguars head into their season-opener against visiting Denver this Sunday.
Koetter seized the opportunity to praise his quarterback and give his young receiving corps a vote of confidence, as the Jaguars offensive coordinator delivered his first state-of-the-offense address of the season to the media on Thursday.
"Dave is the most overanalyzed guy in Jacksonville," Koetter said when asked about quarterback David Garrard. "Dave will play as we play around him. I think Dave's getting the ball out quicker. We're playing better around him. If you believe all of that, then Dave's playing better than he's ever played. We have to carry all of that over (into the regular season)."
A year ago, Koetter's offense had two rookie tackles, three rookies in its receiving corps and a rookie backing up star running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Koetter admits to having had reservations about playing those young guys.
"I have a tendency not to trust young guys until I've seen them. I have no reason (now) not to trust what those guys can do. Those guys go in, we're going to keep rolling," Koetter said. "This is the best receiving corps since I've been here. Every guy we have we know what to expect out of him. We know their strengths."
The strength of the Jaguars offense is still thought to be its running game, which was 10th in the league last year. In the mid-afternoon heat on Sunday, the Jaguars are expected to run the ball early and often in an attempt to tire out the Broncos defense, 26th against the run last year.
It was suggested to Koetter the Jaguars are "kind of vanilla" on offense.
"Most people say we are vanilla, not kind of vanilla," Koetter said. "The only thing you care about when the game is over is whether you won or not. The object is to win the game. Nobody cares if you're vanilla."
Whether they do it with the run or the pass, the Jaguars offense is shouldering a heightened expectation following a late-season swoon. The expectation for the offense is that it will buy time for a defense in flux to develop its young linemen.
The Jaguars offense has a veteran quarterback at the controls behind two emerging tackles that promise to provide better pass-protection this season. Garrard will be throwing to a young receiving corps that appears to be in steep ascent, while Jones-Drew has enough depth behind him to have his load lightened so that he doesn't wear out late in the season. Backup Rashad Jennings is a solid pass-catcher out of the backfield, tight end Marcedes Lewis is playing at a premier level and his backup, Zach Miller, is an H-back type of receiver who offers the potential to create mismatches.
"Score enough points to get a win," Koetter said of his offense's goal. "We're anxious to get started. We're excited. It's time to play real football."