INDIANAPOLIS—Rookie Chad Owens will probably step out of his punt-return role for awhile, following a two-fumble performance in the first half of Sunday's 10-3 loss to the Colts. Owens was replaced by rookie running back Alvin Pearman for the final punt-return of the first half, and Pearman turned in a strong performance in that role, including a 24-yard return in the third quarter that led to the Jaguars' only score of the game.
"He lost his confidence; we tried to stay with him," coach Jack Del Rio said of Owens, the sixth-round pick from Hawaii.
Pearman is likely to remain the Jaguars' punt-returner when the team plays against the Jets in New York on Sunday.
The Jaguars used the same 3-3-5 defensive alignment against Peyton Manning that the Jaguars used so successfully in their season-opening win over the Seahawks. The 3-3-5 is a "nickel defense" with an extra linebacker, but it plays as a cover-two pass-defense because the "nickel" back is employed in zone coverage.
As a result of the Jaguars' success against Manning with that defensive strategy, watch for the Colts' future opponents to attempt the same. Some will say the Jaguars just showed teams how to defense Manning.
Tight end Kyle Brady said the Colts' pass-rush is perfect for the environment in which they play. The RCA Dome is a deafeningly-loud building that makes it difficult for offensive linemen to communicate blocking calls. The noise promotes a constant state of frenzy, which also describes what defensive end Dwight Freeney did on Sunday.
"This place is ideal for him; the speed, the noise," Brady said. "It's not an excuse. It's tough to hear."
"He's one of the elite rushers in the league and he had an impact on the game today," Del Rio said of Freeney.
Safety Donovin Darius sustained an injury to his left knee in the second quarter and did not return. The extent of his injury is unknown and will certainly be a focus of attention when Del Rio provides his injury report on Wednesday.