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Points vs. carries


Jack Del Rio is confident his team will reach the 30-point mark at some point this season. Fred Taylor wouldn't mind hitting the 30-carries mark again.

Offense in Jacksonville has become a tug of war between those who plead for a wide-open attack and those who think 37 carries by Taylor is just fine if the Jaguars win. Taylor belongs to the latter crowd.

"Points? No," Taylor said when asked if its matters to him if the Jaguars score 30. "Baltimore went to the Super Bowl that one year. What did they average? We'd like to be on cruise control in the fourth quarter, but we just want to win."

Through three games, the Jaguars are averaging a little more than 18 points per game. That's up from 16.3 points per game last season but still under the current league average of 19.7.

"I feel confident we'll go past that threshold this year," Del Rio said of the 30-point mark, which has become a mysterious barrier for the Jaguars. The last time the Jaguars scored 30 points in a game was in Minnesota on Dec. 23, 2001.

Will this be the week the Jaguars reach 30?

"Anybody who saw the game on Monday night knows we have a stiff challenge here on Sunday," Del Rio said, referring to the Denver Broncos and their 30-10 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.

It will be a stiff challenge because the Broncos are playing at a high level of performance following wins over the Chargers and the Chiefs, and because the Jaguars offensive line has struggled in pass-blocking on its left side and will add right guard Chris Naeole and right tackle Mo Williams to the team's injury report when it is presented late this afternoon.

Naeole and Williams sustained knee injuries in last Sunday's win over the Jets. Del Rio declined to give reporters an injury report preview at the coach's 11:30 a.m. press conference, but he did say: "I have not had any bad news."

Fortunately for Del Rio and the Jaguars, they have a quarterback who's a human aspirin tablet. Byron Leftwich was flattened by battered by Dwight Freeney and John Abraham on consecutive Sundays, but Leftwich has yet to miss a snap from center this season.

"He played a heckuva football game for us," Del Rio said of Leftwich's performance against the Jets, which was executed on a gimpy left leg. "It kind of shows where he is. He's a clutch football player. Any time you have a quarterback who's a clutch player, that's a good thing."

The Jaguars used Taylor to offer most of the protection for Leftwich in New York. Taylor's 37 rushing attempts is a team record and he was asked today if he's ready to carry the load again.

"It's a privilege to get the ball that many times. If that's the way they want to call it, I'll be ready to carry it," Taylor said.

Can the Jaguars expect to lean that hard on their running game and beat the Broncos? After all, the Jets were a team with a sore-armed quarterback; the Broncos are coming off a 30-point output and figure to score more than the six points they totaled in their 7-6 loss to the Jaguars in week two of last season.

"I don't know that we can go in counting on holding someone to that low of a score," Del Rio said. "We have to expect to need to score more."

How much more? Thirty?

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