(Nov. 1)--The calendar says it's time to clean out the notebook and find that old winter coat that always seems to get lost between the last trip north last season and the first trip into the cold this season.
It's November. I love it. Now we'll see who wants to play football.
But first, let's pay our respects to the Jaguars' performance in September and October.
Best performance by a player--Fred Taylor's 681 yards rushing have him in fifth place among AFC rushing leaders. His 27 pass receptions give him a total of 182 touches, or 42 percent of the Jaguars' total plays from scrimmage. As a result, no one is saying, "If Fred Taylor can stay healthy."
Best performance by a coach--Tom Coughlin had a big lead following the win over Philadelphia, but he didn't have his best days against Baltimore and Houston. So let's give it to the entire defensive staff, which has found a way to produce the NFL's 12th-best defense, despite the loss of Tony Brackens and six other starters from last season.
Most encouraging fact--The Jaguars' last two first-round picks, Marcus Stroud and John Henderson, are in the starting lineup together, shoulder to shoulder in the middle of the defensive line.
Most discouraging fact--A whole lot of money was dumped into a passing attack that is currently ranked 25th in the league.
Most pleasant surprise--After his performance late last season, maybe we shouldn't be surprised, but Jason Craft is giving the Jaguars the best cornerback play in their history.
Comeback player--There were fears Fernando Bryant would never recover from the foot injury that trashed his last two seasons. Now there's reason to believe he may make it all the way back.
Most costly injury--Clearly, the loss of offensive right tackle Maurice Williams has unsettled the Jaguars offensive line. Williams was playing at his highest level when he broke his leg.
Best win--Obviously, over the Eagles.
Worst loss--Obviously, to the Texans.
Most logical expectation--For the Jaguars to win a couple in November and stay in touch with the AFC South competition, which may not produce one team with a winning record heading into the final month of the season.
Now, here's "10 things" the Jaguars have to do to beat the Giants this Sunday.
- Stop the run--This is November in the northeast. You play it their way.
- Run the ball--This is November in the northeast. You play it their way.
- Protect Brunell--On those few occasions the Jaguars must throw the football, they would be very wise to protect a quarterback who's been head-butted twice in the last three weeks.
- Forget about the door--When the Giants get you thinking about someone opening or closing the door in the tunnel, you're already beaten.
- Start finding an identity--What is this team's personality? It didn't surface in September and October.
- Cool it with the heaters and coats--The northern teams look for that kind of stuff. They like it when the Florida teams' bench area looks like a scene from the Russian front.
- Just do your job--Tom Coughlin and his veteran players met on Monday in a clean-the-air kind of conversation. That's nice but is there anybody who needed to be told the idea is to score points and keep the other team from scoring?
- Downsize the playbook--It goes to identity that the Jaguars use a lot of formations and schemes but have yet to embrace a few they may call their bread and butter.
- Don't panic--No one in the AFC South is going to run away with the title. For a rebuilding team in a horribly weak division, improvement is still the number one goal.
- Make some field goals--It would sure help morale.