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Preseason Game 2 - Jaguars at Giants

Thursday, August 16, 2001, 8:00 p.m. EDT Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, N.J. THIS WEEK: Coming off a last-minute victory in their preseason opener, the Jacksonville Jaguars will face the NFC champion New York Giants when they make their first road trip of the 2001 exhibition schedule at 8:00 p.m. EDT Thursday at Giants Stadium. The game marks the sixth consecutive season that the Jaguars and Giants have played in the second week of the preseason, with the Jaguars holding a 3-2 lead in the exhibition series (the two teams have split two games during the regular season). The Jaguars have a 17-9 record in the preseason in their seven seasons. Jacksonville won its 2001 preseason opener 18-16 over the Carolina Panthers last Friday at ALLTEL Stadium, with Mike Hollis kicking six field goals - including an 18-yarder with 18 seconds remaining - for all of the team's points. The Jaguars have 43 new players on their 89-man roster and they made a lot of personnel moves during the offseason. However, Jacksonville still retains the same core group of players that advanced to the AFC Championship game two seasons ago. In fact, the Jaguars return 16 starters from two seasons ago - seven on offense and nine on a defense that allowed the fewest points in the league in 1999. The new players include 10 draft picks, 20 undrafted rookies, six veterans and seven new first-year players. Jacksonville's 7-9 record during 2000 marked the team's first losing season since its inaugural year of 1995. Still, in the last four seasons, the Jaguars have the second-best record in the NFL. Their 43-21 record in that time is two games behind Minnesota (45-19) and tied with Denver. Jacksonville also has the third-best home record in the last four years (32-8, two games behind Green Bay), and their road record of 20-14 since 1996 is tied for the best in the league with Minnesota and Tennessee. TELEVISION BROADCAST: The Jaguars-Giants game will be televised nationally on ESPN, with Mike Patrick calling the play-by-play and Joe Theismann and Paul Maguire adding analysis. RADIO BROADCAST: All of the Jaguars' games are broadcast on WOKV (690 AM), WBWL (600 AM) and WKQL (96.9 FM) and the Jaguars Radio Network. Brian Sexton calls the play-by-play and former NFL quarterback Matt Robinson adds analysis, with Jennifer Candelino serving as field reporter. Sexton and Robinson are in their seventh season together. Robinson, Vic Ketchman and Cole Pepper handle the pre-game show, and Pepper and ex-Oakland Raider Pete Banaszak do the post-game show. A total of 19 affiliates in three states on the Jaguars Radio Network will also broadcast the game. THE OPPONENT: The Giants are the fourth-oldest team in the NFL, having played their first game in 1925. They have won two Super Bowls (1986 and 1990) and four NFL championships, and they played in the NFL title game 11 other times. Last season, the Giants were the NFC champions, defeating Philadelphia and Minnesota in the playoffs before losing to the Baltimore Ravens in the Super Bowl. Their 12-4 regular-season record was the best in the NFC. They are coached by Jim Fassel, who has led them to the playoffs in two of his four seasons as head coach. In 1997, Fassel's first year, the Giants finished 10-5-1, winning the NFC East for the first time since 1990 and becoming the 15th team in NFL history to finish in first place a year after finishing in last place. In 1998, the Giants slipped to 8-8, and in '99 they were 7-9. THE SERIES: The Jaguars and Giants have met twice during the regular season, with each team winning at its home. In 1997, the Jaguars won 40-13 at ALLTEL Stadium with Steve Matthews quarterbacking. The Giants won the 2000 regular-season finale 28-25 at Giants Stadium. In the preseason, the Jaguars have won three of the five games. THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars lost their 2000 season finale 28-25 to the New York Giants on December 23 in Giants Stadium to drop to 7-9 for the year, their first losing season since 1995. The Jaguars led 10-7 going into the fourth quarter, but they surrendered three touchdowns to the eventual NFC champions, thwarting the comeback efforts of Mark Brunell, who threw two touchdowns in the final period. The Jaguars played most of the game without WR Jimmy Smith, who was hit hard in the first quarter before returning for the final two drives, and RB Fred Taylor, who suffered a hip pointer on the second play of the second half and didn't return. The Brunell-to-Keenan McCardell connection was the team's main hope, as they hooked up on 11 passes for 131 yards. The Jaguars did stifle the Giants' running game, holding Tiki Barber and Ron Dayne to 81 yards on 30 carries, but Giants WR Amani Toomer did most of the damage with eight receptions for 193 yards and a touchdown. Two notable streaks ended in the game. Taylor rushed for 52 yards - including a 44-yard TD run - but his streak of nine consecutive 100-yard rushing games ended (it was tied for the third longest in NFL history). And Jimmy Smith did not catch a pass for the first time in 87 games in which he had played, dating back to mid-1995. The loss was the Jaguars' first ever in a regular-season finale and marked their earliest end to a season in franchise history. A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE GIANTS WOULD: Give them a 2-0 preseason start for the third time, an 18-9 preseason record in seven seasons and a 4-2 record vs. the Giants in the preseason. It would also be the Jaguars' fourth straight road victory in the preseason, dating back to 1999. INJURY UPDATE: OT Mark Baniewicz underwent surgery last week for a torn left triceps and was placed on injured reserve on August 10. C John Wade (foot) is on the active/physically unable to perform list. Several players who are rehabbing from 2000 surgeries usually participate in one practice during the two-a-days: OT Tony Boselli (ankle), S Carnell Lake (hamstring), TE Damon Jones (knee) and G/OT Zach Wiegert (knee). In addition, WR Jimmy Smith (abdomen) is slowly rehabbing and will not play until later in the preseason. LB Anthony Denman suffered a strained calf in the preseason opener vs. Carolina, and several other players missed the game: CB Kory Blackwell (groin), CB Evan Hlavacek (hamstring), MLB Richard Hogans (concussion), QB Jamie Martin (foot), WR Keenan McCardell (groin), S Erik Olson (groin), WR Emanuel Smith (finger) and WR Antonio Stanley (hamstring). THE COACHES: Jacksonville head coach Tom Coughlin (56-40 in regular season, 4-4 in postseason) has led the Jaguars to two AFC Central Division championships and two appearances in the AFC Championship game in six seasons as the only head coach in franchise history. The Jaguars made the playoffs all four seasons from 1996 to '99 - a first for an NFL expansion team and one of only two teams in the NFL to do so (along with Minnesota). In 1999, the Jaguars had the best record in the NFL (14-2), advancing to the conference championship game before losing to Tennessee. In 1998, Coughlin guided them to their first AFC Central Division championship with an 11-5 record. They defeated the New England Patriots in a Wild-Card game before losing to the New York Jets in the Divisional playoffs. In 1997, the Jaguars were 11-5 and finished second in the AFC Central, and they were defeated by Denver in the Wild-Card playoffs. In their second season in 1996, the Jaguars advanced all the way to the AFC Championship game, finishing the regular season in second place in the division with a 9-7 record. In the playoffs, the Jaguars upset the Bills and Broncos on the road before losing at New England. In 1995, the Jaguars finished with four victories in their inaugural season. Coughlin became head coach of the Jaguars on February 21, 1994 following three successful seasons as head coach at Boston College. He compiled a record of 21-13-1 from 1991 to '93 at Boston College, and had two appearances in bowl games and a ranking of 13th in the final AP poll of 1993. A veteran of 30 years of coaching, he was previously an NFL assistant coach with the New York Giants (wide receivers, 1988-90), Green Bay Packers (wide receivers and passing game coordinator 1986-87) and Philadelphia Eagles (wide receivers, 1984-85). In 2000, after issuing a guarantee following a disappointing loss, Jim Fassel's Giants won their last five regular-season games en route to the best record in the NFC and the franchise's first Super Bowl appearance in 10 seasons. Fassel, in his fifth year, has a 39-28-1 record as coach of the Giants. Fassel spent one season as offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals in 1996, following a year with the Oakland Raiders as quarterbacks coach. Fassel was the Giants' quarterbacks coach 1991 and offensive coordinator in 1992. He spent two seasons as the assistant head coach/offensive coordinator for Denver (1993-94), as John Elway won NFL Most Valuable Player honors in 1993. He also had groomed Elway at Stanford, where Fassel was the offensive coordinator (1979-1983). Fassel was offensive coordinator for the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL (1984). Fassel was a quarterback for Fullerton (California) College, winning the junior college national championship in 1967. He also played at Southern California and Long Beach State. He was selected by the Chicago Bears in the seventh round of the 1972 NFL draft. Fassel was an assistant at Fullerton College (1973), Utah (1976), Weber State (1977-78), and head coach at Utah (1985-89). COUGHLIN IN SEVENTH SEASON WITH JAGUARS: Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin is in his seventh season as the team's head coach, tied for the fourth-longest length of any NFL coach with his current team. In addition, Coughlin has the fourth-best record of all current NFL coaches in division games and the sixth-best record in home games. JACKSONVILLE-NEW YORK GIANTS CONNECTIONS: Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin was born in Waterloo in upstate New York. He was the Giants' receivers coach from 1988 to '90, contributing to the Super Bowl XXV victory over Buffalo in his last season with the Giants ... Jaguars TE coach Fred Hoaglin was the Giants' OL coach from 1985 to '92, winning two Super Bowls ... One Giant is an original Jaguar: CB Dave Thomas (1995-99), and WR Thabiti Davis was with the Jaguars during the 1999 training camp ... The Jaguars have six players with ties to the New York area: DT Seth Payne (Victor, Cornell), OT Mark Baniewicz (Fairport, Syracuse), WR Randal Williams (Bronx), TE Kyle Brady (New York Jets 1995-98), SS Donovin Darius (Camden, N.J., Syracuse) and CB Kory Blackwell (New York City), who played for the Giants in 1997 and '98 ... OL coach Mike Maser was born in Clayton, N.Y. … Strength and conditioning coach Jerry Palmieri was born in Englewood, N.J. ... The Giants have 13 players with ties to the state of Florida: LB Mike Barrow (Homestead, University of Miami), LB Jessie Armstead (University of Miami), CB Dave Thomas (Miami), OT Lomas Brown (Miami, University of Florida), WR Ron Dixon (Wildwood), LB Kevin Lewis (Orlando), WR Ike Hilliard (University of Florida), QB Jessie Palmer (University of Florida), DE Kenny Holmes (Vero Beach, University of Miami), S Delvin Jones (Miami), DE Matt Layow (Miami), LB Kevin Lewis (Orlando) and P Tony Umholtz (Largo, University of South Florida). TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE: The Jaguars are in their third and final full week of training camp. Practice times this week are as follows: Sunday: 8:40 a.m. and 3:40 p.m.; Monday: 3:40 p.m.; Tuesday: 8:40 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.; Wednesday: closed walk-through and travel day; Thursday: Jaguars at New York Giants. Player interviews are from 11:00 to 12:15 on Sunday and Tuesday at the Radisson Riverwalk Hotel and 12:30 to 1:00 p.m. Monday at ALLTEL Stadium. Practices are held at Ferrell Practice Fields adjacent to ALLTEL Stadium. Check with the Jaguars' Communications office (633-6000) to schedule interviews. LAST WEEK: The Jaguars won their preseason opener 18-16 on an 18-yard field goal by Mike Hollis with 18 seconds remaining in the game. It was Hollis' sixth field goal of the game and capped a nine-play, 65-yard drive led by fourth-string quarterback Ted White. Jacksonville failed to score a touchdown and was stopped three times inside the one-yard line before Hollis' game-winning field goal. The Jaguars' starters played the first series of the game, scoring a field goal and taking a 3-0 lead. But the team scored just one more field goal until the fourth quarter, when Hollis connected on three three-pointers for the team's third consecutive victory in preseason openers. Mark Brunell hit on 5 of 7 passes for 50 yards in the opening drive, and then Jonathan Quinn played the next two-plus quarters, leading the team to three field goals. The Jaguars forced forced four turnovers and the defense came up with four sacks. NOTES FROM THE PANTHERS GAME: The Jaguars had more first downs (18 to 15) and more time of possession (32:51 to 27:09) but were outgained (301 to 314). … The Jaguars converted only 5 of 19 third downs (26 percent) but held the Panthers to 5 of 12 (42 percent). … Jonathan Quinn completed only 11 of 217 passes for 86 yards but was not intercepted. Ted White was 3 of 8 for 60 yards. … Stacey Mack led the team with 36 rushing yards on 8 carries. Sean Dawkins was the leading receiver with three catches for 18 yards. … Backup MLB Joseph Tuipala led the team with seven tackles (three solo), followed by OLB Edward Thomas with six tackles (two solo). … Sacks were turned in by LB Danny Clark, DE Brent Johnson, DE Radell Lockhart and LB Ryan Goven. … PK Mike Hollis' six field goals and seven attempts marked single-game highs in a Jaguars game (preseason, regular season or postseason). Aron Langley and David Leaverton shared the punting duties. Langley punted four times for a 43-yard average and one inside the 20 with a 53 long, and Leaverton kicked three times for a 44.3 average and 54 long. Leaverton also added a tackle on a punt return. … Every player who dressed played except QB Jamie Martin, who has a foot injury. Thirteen players did not dress: WR Antonio Stanley, CB Kory Blackwell, S Carnell Lake, CB Evan Hlavacek, S Erik Olson, MLB Richard Hogans, C John Wade, OT Mark Baniewicz, G/OT Zach Wiegert, WR Jimmy Smith, WR Keenan McCardell, TE Damon Jones and WR Emanuel Smith … Jaguars captains were G Brad Meester and DT Seth Payne. … The attendance was 50,970. FROM COACH TOM COUGHLIN ON THE PANTHERS GAME: "It was good to win a football game, and to come back was a very positive thing. We didn't score any touchdowns and Mike Hollis was 6 for 7, hitting some from long range, which was very positive and says a lot of Mike's consistency. We did move the ball; we were pretty consistent with that. We just didn't put the ball in the endzone. We played hard. We got everybody on the field. The second half kind of bothered me with the penalties on special teams. We kept going backwards instead of giving ourselves opportunities. I was happy with the effort. We played hard, we hit hard, and that was a key. We were very physical. We had four takeaways, four sacks and didn't turn it over. But any time you have the ball on the one-inch line and don't score, you come away feeling a little empty and disappointed in the fact you can't knock it in." (on Jonathan Quinn) "I think for whatever reason it wasn't his best night. He was early on some things, he was late on some things. Then he seemed to get into a pattern where no one was making a play for him. It looked like a couple of times we were going to get a hand on the ball and that didn't happen. It just wasn't a very good night, but we found a way to win. He wasn't as good as he can be. We didn't have a lot of rhythm and didn't get a lot of things going. Nobody helped him, either. There'll be better days for Jon Quinn. He just has to get it in the end zone." (on who stood out) "Obviously, people will talk about Elvis Joseph and the screen at the end, which was a very good play for a young guy. Elvis has had a good camp and he's caught a lot of people's eyes. He played well tonight. I thought Stacey Mack had a couple of nice, hard runs, too, which were powerful. He ran lower than he did a year ago." (on Marcus Stroud) "He was good. He got to play 15 plays. He was disruptive, and that's what I wanted out of him tonight, just to be disruptive. It wasn't fancy, but it was disruptive." FROM DT MARCUS STROUD: "I just went out there and tried to do my job. I did everything the guys had told me to do in practice and the things we had gone over with the coaches. I mainly just went out there and had a good time." FROM MLB HARDY NICKERSON: (on getting back on the field) "It felt great. It was the first time since last October. It felt great to get out there and fly around a little bit, make a few plays and get fired up." (on the potential for the defense) "When all of our guys are healthy, there's no doubt in my mind that we can be one of the better defenses in this league. That's the key for us - just staying healthy. I think we showed that we'll bring our shoulder pads and helmets and we'll come hit you. People are going to have to watch out this year." (on the younger players) "We had a few blown coverages and things like that, but they showed they're hungry. They're not afraid to stick their noses in there and mix things up." FROM PK MIKE HOLLIS: (on kicking six field goals) "I've just got a job to do. They hired me to kick the football, and when the team needs me I just try to do the best I can - whatever it takes. (on mentally preparing for kicks) "You just have to relax and focus on what you do best. There's been times in my career when I wasn't real confident and I came into a game and didn't have a good game. You have to have confidence, and confidence comes with practice." NEXT WEEK: The Jaguars will host the Kansas City Chiefs at 7:30 p.m. EDT Thursday, August 23 at ALLTEL Stadium. It will be the fourth straight year the two teams have met in the preseason, with the Chiefs holding a 2-1 lead in the series. In 2000, the Chiefs were 7-9 and finished in third place in the AFC West. They are now coached by Dick Vermeil, who led the St. Louis Rams to the Super Bowl title two years ago. Vermeil is reunited with Chiefs president/general manager Carl Peterson, with whom he has worked off and on for much of the past 27 years. NEW FACES: Here's a quick look at the Jaguars' six new veteran players who are on the 2001 training camp roster: CB Kory Blackwell- Second-year player who has spent time with the Giants, Browns, 49ers and Raiders, playing in five games for New York in 1998. He has also had two stints in the NFL Europe League. He missed the preseason opener with a groin injury. G LeShun Daniels - A second-year guard, Daniels spent the second half of the 1997 season with the Vikings, was on their practice squad in '98 and has been allocated twice to the NFL Europe League. WR Sean Dawkins - An eight-year veteran, Dawkins has started 106 games during his career, catching 435 passes for 6,057 yards and 26 touchdowns for the Colts, Saints and Seahawks. A former first-round draft choice, he provides the Jaguars with possibly their best No. 3 receiver in team history, as he will back up Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell. WR Damon Gibson - Signed to compete for the role of punt returner, Gibson was with the Jaguars during training camp a year ago. In 1998, he scored four touchdowns as a rookie for Cincinnati, three on receptions and one on a punt return. LB Joe Wesley - A second-year player out of Louisiana State, Wesley spent the 1999 season and 2000 preseason with San Francisco. He played with the Berlin Thunder of NFL Europe along with Jonathan Quinn and James Watkins. QB Ted White - A second-year player, White is the No. 4 quarterback on the Jaguars' roster. He was on Tampa Bay's practice squad all of the 2000 season and was a record-setting passer at Howard. He led the Jaguars to a come-from-behind win in their preseason opener. 2001 POSITION ANALYSIS: Here is a position-by-position breakdown of the Jaguars: Quarterbacks (4) - Mark Brunell returns for his seventh season with the Jaguars. In 2000, he started all 16 games for the second time in his career. He completed 311 of 512 passes for 3,640 yards, numbers that were the second highest of his career, and passed for 20 touchdowns, tying his career high. The No. 6-ranked passer in NFL history, he is the only quarterback in the league who has rated among the top 11 in each of the last five seasons. He has a 51-33 record as a starting quarterback, the seventh-best percentage in the league. Vying for the No. 2 job are veterans Jamie Martin and Jonathan Quinn, who led the Berlin Thunder to the NFL Europe League title earlier this year. Martin was the Jaguars' backup in 2000, playing in five games and completing 22 of 33 passes for 307 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. Quinn started two games in 1998, his rookie season, but has not thrown a pass in a regular-season game since then. The three quarterbacks have combined for 95 of the 104 starts in franchise history (including playoff games). The fourth quarterback on the roster is Ted White, who spent last season on the Buccaneers' practice squad. Gone: Nobody Running Backs (8) - Fred Taylor is a threat to score every time he touches the ball, which is why Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin wants to keep Taylor healthy for a full season and in the lineup. In 2000, Taylor missed the first three games of the season with a knee injury, then went on to rush for 1,399 yards and score 14 touchdowns. His streak of nine consecutive 100-yard rushing games tied for the third-longest streak in NFL history but was snapped in the season finale when he was injured again. Now healthy again, Taylor holds 30 team records. Battling for the backup role are Stacey Mack and Shyrone Stith. Mack, a third-year pro out of Temple, started two games last season and rushed for 145 yards on 54 carries. Stith, who led the team in kickoff returns with a 23.8-yard average, played sparingly at running back as a rookie last year, gaining 55 yards on 22 carries. He was a seventh-round draft pick out of Virginia Tech who left college a year early. Also competing for a backup role is undrafted rookie Elvis Joseph. The fullback position is wide open, with three new players battling for the role as Taylor's lead blocker - Kevin Clemens (an Arena League player) and undrafted rookies Dustin McClintock and Patrick Washington. Gone: Daimon Shelton, Anthony Johnson Wide Receivers (11) - Perhaps the deepest position on the team. Jimmy Smith, who has the most receptions (450) for the most yards (6,599) of any NFL receiver over the last five seasons, will start alongside Keenan McCardell, who has caught 406 balls for 5,283 yards in that time (ranking fifth and seventh, respectively). In 2000, McCardell led the team with 94 catches and his first 1,000-yard season since 1997, proving he still has a lot left. Smith had 91 receptions for a team-leading 1,213 yards in making the Pro Bowl for the fourth consecutive year. Sean Dawkins was the biggest veteran acquisition during the offseason. In eight years, the former first-rounder has caught 435 passes for 6,057 yards and 26 touchdowns. R. Jay Soward, the first-round draft choice a year ago, has had a stellar training camp so far but will miss the first four games of the regular season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. When he returns, he will compete for the No. 3 role, as well as return punts. Alvis Whitted had the finest season of his career in 2000, scoring three times on 13 receptions. A talented and speedy fourth-year player, he can also return kickoffs. Rounding out the competition are Damon Gibson, seventh-round draft choice Richmond Flowers, 2000 sixth-round draft pick Emanuel Smith, and undrafted rookie sleeper Randal Williams out of New Hampshire. Gone: Reggie Barlow Tight Ends (5) - Kyle Brady realized his vast potential in 2000, when he doubled his career highs for both catches and yards (64 for 729). He is finally being recognized as one of the top tight ends in the league. Damon Jones, who suffered a season-ending ACL injury on the second play of the 2000 season, will slowly work back into the lineup as the No. 2 tight end. In 1999, he caught 19 balls for 221 yards and four TDs. Both Brady and Jones are excellent blockers, one reason why the Jaguars are the NFL's only team to rush for more than 2,000 yards each of the last three seasons. There is a battle for the third tight end between Ryan Neufeld, Lawrence Hart and Ryan Prince. Gone: Rich Griffith Offensive Line (17) - When Fred Taylor was running for more than 100 yards in nine straight games last season, the offensive line was the key. A problem-area early in the 2000 season after being decimated by injuries, the line jelled over the second half of the season. Four starters return in 2000. Left tackle Tony Boselli has now completely healed from his 1999 ACL injury and is back in form as the NFL's best offensive lineman. He has been named to five straight Pro Bowls. Returning at left guard is Brad Meester, a 2000 second-round draft choice who started all 16 games and is being touted as a future Pro Bowler. Jeff Smith, who started the final 12 games at center last season, re-signed as an unrestricted free agent and mans the center position. An underrated sixth-year pro, he was a key to the team's resurgence in the second half of the 2000 season. The right side of the line isn't settled yet, depending on the development of second-round draft choice Maurice Williams, who is expected to start at right tackle. If that is the case - and Williams has played with the first unit all of training camp - veteran Zach Wiegert will start at right guard. Williams, the fourth offensive tackle drafted this year, is attempting to become the fourth Jaguar to start the opener on the offensive line (joining Boselli and Brian DeMarco in 1995 and Meester last year). Wiegert, a seventh-year pro who won the 1994 Outland Trophy at Nebraska, has started 20 games for the Jaguars over the last two seasons at both guard and tackle. He tore his left ACL in the eighth game last season and missed the rest of the year, but his rehab has gone well. Among the backups are tackle Gannon Shepherd and guards Aaron Koch and sixth-rounder Chad Ward, who has looked impressive in camp. Center John Wade, who has 22 starts in his first three seasons, suffered a stress fracture in his right foot in June and has been placed on the active/physically unable to perform list. He will be out until at least September. Gone: Leon Searcy, Brenden Stai, Todd Fordham, Quentin Neujahr, Mark Baniewicz (on I.R.) Defensive Line (14) - In the last five years, only three teams have allowed fewer than the 50 rushing touchdowns given up by Jacksonville, and the line should be improved this season with the addition of No. 1 draft pick Marcus Stroud, a defensive tackle from Georgia. Stroud is working with the second team in training camp but is expected either to start or see heavy play in the rotation with veterans Gary Walker and Seth Payne. Stroud was the 13th overall pick in this year's draft. Walker is a physical run-stopper who can also rush the passer, as evidenced by his 15 sacks in two seasons with the Jaguars. Payne has started the last two seasons, posting a career-high 74 tackles in 2000. At end, Tony Brackens and Renaldo Wynn return. Brackens is one of the top pass rushers in the game and had missed only five games in five seasons. The leading sacker in Jaguars history, he owns team records for forced fumbles, fumble recoveries and takeaways. Wynn had his finest season in 2000, once he was settled in at left end (he had started at the other three defensive line positions during his first three seasons). Wynn has 47 starts in his career and had a personal-best 3.5 sacks in 2000. Depth will be provided by youngsters Rob Meier and Paul Spicer, both of whom impressed Tom Coughlin in limited play in 2000. Third-year pro Larry Smith has moved from defensive tackle to end and will also see plenty of time in the rotation. Gone: Joel Smeenge, Emarlos Leroy Linebackers (12) - The Hardy Boys - Kevin Hardy and Hardy Nickerson return, but there will be a new starter at weakside linebacker. Hardy, an All-Pro selection in 1999, has moved back to strongside linebacker, the position he held his first two seasons. The team's leading tackler the last three seasons, he has 23 sacks, five interceptions and eight forced fumbles in five years. Nickerson, a free-agent acquisition who played in only six games in 2000 because of hamstring and knee injuries, has vowed a complete return. One of the league's leading tacklers for the last decade, Nickerson did make 75 tackles in his six starts. He returns for his 15th season. There is a battle at weakside linebacker between T.J. Slaughter, who started six games at middle linebacker last year, and third-round draft choice Eric Westmoreland. Slaughter, a second-round pick a year ago, is one of only four Jaguars to make more than 100 tackles as a rookie and is a fierce tackler against the run. However, he has not played weakside linebacker since his sophomore season at Southern Mississippi. Westmoreland, who has been compared to former Minnesota Viking Ed McDaniel, was a three-year starter at Tennessee. The top backup at strongside linebacker is Danny Clark, who led the team in special teams tackles as a rookie in 2000. Providing depth is the middle is Joseph Tuipala, a star in the XFL last spring. Gone: Lonnie Marts, Brant Boyer, Erik Storz Defensive Backs (16) - Carnell Lake returns at free safety after missing the entire 2000 season with a stress fracture in his left foot. A five-time Pro Bowler and the leader of the Jacksonville secondary, Lake was voted to the Pro Bowl the last time he was healthy - 1999, his first season with the Jaguars. Donovin Darius will start at strong safety for the fourth season. He has led the team's secondary in tackles each of his three years, and he has started all 46 games in which he has played. For the third straight year, the cornerbacks will be Aaron Beasley and Fernando Bryant. A sixth-year pro and the team's single-season and career interception leader, Beasley mans the right side. He turned in five sacks last season, tied for third among NFL defensive backs. Bryant, who was named to every All-Rookie team in 1999, plays left cornerback and excels in man coverage. Vying for the nickel back position are corners Jason Craft and Kiwaukee Thomas, both of whom held that job for parts of 2000. Both players are former fifth-round draft choices (Craft in 1999 and Thomas in 2000). Rookies James Boyd and Marlon McCree are also pushing for playing time. Boyd, a third-round draft choice, will be the backup free safety and eventual replacement for Lake. Gone: Mike Logan, Rayna Stewart Kickers (4) - Mike Hollis is back for his seventh season. The third-most-accurate field goal kicker in NFL history, he has led the Jaguars in scoring all six seasons and is one of only four NFL kickers with more than 100 points each of the last five years. Hollis had perhaps his finest year in 2000, when he was forced to miss four games in September and October after undergoing in-season back surgery. He returned to kick 24 field goals in 26 attempts. For the first time, the punter will be new. Fifth-rounder David Leaverton out of Tennessee and first-year player Aron Langley are battling for the job, and they rotated the punting duties in the preseason opener. Leaverton, the second punter drafted this year, is the favorite, and he might also handle kickoffs if he can replace Jim Tarle. Hollis' snapper and holder will be new this year. Seventh-round draft choice Randy Chevrier is manning the No. 1 job at both short and long snapper during training camp. At holder, the competition is between Leaverton, Langley, Jamie Martin and Jonathan Quinn. Gone: Bryan Barker A LOOK BACK AT THE 2000 SEASON: -Finished fourth in the AFC Central Division with a 7-9 record -Are one of only four teams that have been in the playoffs four of the last five seasons, joining Minnesota (5), and Miami (4) and Denver (4) -In the last three seasons, are the only team in the NFL to repeat as division champions (1998 and '99) -Won four of eight games at ALLTEL Stadium, where they have never had a losing season. In six years, they are 34-14 at home -Won three games on the road -Won five of 10 games in the division -The franchise's six-year record in the regular season moves to 56-40 -The offense ranked 7th in the NFL in yards gained (10th rushing, 9th passing) -The defense ranked 12th in the NFL in yards allowed (11th rushing, 14th passing) -Scored 367 points (22.9 per game), the most in the AFC Central Division -Had two receivers with more than 90 receptions and 1,200 yards - Keenan McCardell (94, 1,207) and Jimmy Smith (91, 1,213) -Finished with 2,032 rushing yards, third most in team history and 70 shy of the team record -OT Tony Boselli was voted to the Pro Bowl for the fifth consecutive year, and WR Jimmy Smith for the fourth straight -Averaged 60,314 in attendance in 2000, and average 67,306 in six seasons FINAL 2000 AFC CENTRAL DIVISION STANDINGS: The Jaguars finished the 2000 regular season with a 7-9 record and in fourth place. NFL EXPANSION TEAMS SINCE 1960 ... Of the 10 expansion teams in NFL history, the Jaguars have the best record and the most postseason appearances in any franchise's first six seasons. However, the Jaguars' seventh season poses a big hurdle, as they strive to match the accomplishments of the Dallas Cowboys (who were conference champions in 1965) and the Miami Dolphins (who were Super Bowl champions in 1972, when they went undefeated). SMITH IS NFL'S LEADING RECEIVER SINCE 1996 ... Since the start of the 1996 season, Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has the most receptions in the NFL, and teammate Keenan McCardell is fifth (Smith missed one game and most of three others in 2000). The two receivers are close friends, with McCardell nicknamed "Thunder" and Smith called "Lightning." Smith was the NFL leader in 1999 with 116 receptions - the sixth most in a season in NFL history - and he easily broke the team record of 85 set in 1996 and '97 by McCardell. McCardell has a total of 486 career receptions, while Smith has 472. SMITH'S LAST FIVE SEASONS SURPASSED ONLY BY RICE: From 1996 through 2000, Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith caught 450 passes for 6,599 yards. No other receiver in NFL history - except for future Hall of Famer Jerry Rice - has caught more passes for more yards in any five-year period. In three different five-year periods, Rice had more catches and more receiving yards than Smith's totals. In addition to Rice, only three other players ever caught more passes in a five-year period than Smith, but they always had fewer yards receiving. Similarly, One other player ever had more receiving yards but fewer receptions than Smith. Here's a look:

 PLAYER    YEARS    REC    YARDS
 Jerry Rice    1990-1994    474    6,911
 Jerry Rice    1991-1995    496    7,257
 Jerry Rice    1992-1996    524    7,305
 Jimmy Smith    1996-2000    450    6,599
The three players who had more receptions but fewer yards in a five-year period were: Cris Carter (three times: 1993-1997, 515, 6,379; 1994-1998, 507, 5,870; and 1995-1999, 475, 5,858), Herman Moore (1994-1998, 487, 6,431), and Tim Brown (1995-1999, 454, 6,210). The only player who had more yards receiving but fewer receptions in a five-year period was Michael Irvin (1991-1995, 449, 7,093).
Smith's career totals of 472 receptions for 6,887 yards are more than six of 17 receivers already inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and he has been a starter for only the last four-and-a-half seasons.

SMITH AND McCARDELL SET NFL RECORD: Jaguars WRs Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell set an NFL record on November 12, 2000 vs. Seattle when they both had 100 yards receiving in the same game for the eighth time (the record has since been tied by Minnesota's Cris Carter and Randy Moss). That broke the league mark they shared with Don Maynard and George Sauer of the New York Jets, who combined for 100-yard games seven times in the 1960s. Here's a look at the eight 100-yard games by the Smith/McCardell tandem:

 Date    Opponent    Smith/McCardell Receptions-Yards
 Nov. 24, 1996    at Baltimore    Smith 8-131, McCardell 9-107
 Nov. 23, 1997    at Cincinnati    McCardell 8-109, Smith 5-106
 Sept. 20, 1998    vs. Baltimore    Smith 2-116, McCardell 8-108
 Oct. 25, 1998    at Denver    Smith 8-121, McCardell 9-113
 Nov. 28, 1999    at Baltimore    Smith 10-132, McCardell 8-102
 Dec. 2, 1999    vs. Pittsburgh    Smith 10-124, McCardell 5-113
 Jan. 2, 2000    vs. Cincinnati    Smith 14-165, McCardell 9-108
 Nov. 12, 2000    vs. Seattle    McCardell 6-156, Smith 10-117

THE ORIGINAL THUNDER AND LIGHTNING: Jaguars WRs Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell are only the sixth tandem in NFL history to each have 1,000 yards receiving in the same season three different years. Here's the list:

 Players    Team    Times    Years
 Cris Carter and Jake Reed    Minnesota    4    1994, 1995, 1996, 1997
 Jimmy Smith and Keenan McCardell    Jacksonville    3    1996, 1997, 2000
 Cris Carter and Randy Moss    Minnesota    3    1998, 1999, 2000
 Rod Smith and Ed McCaffrey    Denver    3    1998, 1999, 2000
 Art Monk and Gary Clark    Washington    3    1986, 1989, 1991
 Mark Clayton and Mark Duper    Miami    3    1984, 1986, 1991

HOLLIS IS NFL'S THIRD-MOST ACCURATE FIELD GOAL KICKER EVER: Jaguars PK Mike Hollis is the third-most-accurate field goal kicker in NFL history in the regular season (he is also the second-most accurate in the postseason). In 2000, Hollis was successful on 24 of his 26 attempts (a career-high 92.3%), giving him a career accuracy mark of 83.07, although he fell behind Miami's Olindo Mare on October 29. Mare held the No. 1 position for two weeks until being passed by Green Bay's Ryan Longwell.

BRUNELL HAS SEVENTH-BEST WINNING PERCENTAGE: Jaguars QB Mark Brunell has the seventh-best career winning percentage of active quarterbacks (minimum 20 wins).

(regular season only, minimum 20 wins) QUARTERBACK, TEAM W L T PCT. Kurt Warner, St. Louis 21 6 0 .778
Doug Flutie, San Diego 30 14 0 .682 Brad Johnson, Tampa Bay 32 17 0 .653 Brett Favre, Green Bay 91 50 0 .645 Steve McNair, Tennessee 41 23 0 .641 Randall Cunningham, Baltimore 81 52 1 .608 Mark Brunell, Jacksonville 51 33 0 .607 Elvis Grbac, Baltimore 32 24 0 .571

Brunell's TOUCHDOWN TARGETS: Mark Brunell has thrown 106 TD passes in six seasons in Jacksonville. Here are the 17 players who have caught them: Jimmy Smith (30), Keenan McCardell (21), Damon Jones (10), Willie Jackson (10), Pete Mitchell (7), James Stewart (5), Fred Taylor (4), Ernest Givins (3), Cedric Tillman (3), Alvis Whitted (3), Kyle Brady (3), Andre Rison (2), Derek Brown (1), Ty Hallock (1), Desmond Howard (1), Natrone Means (1) and R. Jay Soward (1).

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