Thursday, August 30, 2001, 8:30 p.m. EDT
Texas Stadium, Irving, Texas
THIS WEEK: With the regular season just around the corner, the Jacksonville Jaguars will go on the road for their final preseason game when they face the Dallas Cowboys at 8:30 p.m. EDT Thursday at Texas Stadium in Irving, Texas. The Jaguars are 2-1 and coming off a thrilling come-from-behind 28-23 victory over the Kansas City Chiefs in their second home preseason game last Thursday. The second-stringers showed a sturdy goal-line defense that stopped the Chiefs twice at the one-foot line in the final minute of the game, ensuring the victory and giving the Jaguars two wins in two home games in this preseason. The Jaguars had not scored a touchdown in their first two preseason games, but they scored four touchdowns against Kansas City, all of them on passes.
The Jaguars have won both games between the two teams in the exhibition series (1998 and '99). The teams have also played twice during the regular season, with each team winning once (both games were in Texas Stadium). The Jaguars have an 18-10 record in the preseason in their seven seasons. The Cowboys have lost nine straight preseason games and 17 of their last 18 exhibition games dating back to 1998. They face the Oakland Raiders on Monday night in Mexico City, thus they have only three days in between games and only one practice scheduled before facing the Jaguars.
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-Cowboys game will be televised locally on WJXT Channel 4, with Sam Kouvaris calling the play-by-play, former Jaguar Jeff Lageman adding analysis and ex-Jaguar Dave Widell as the field reporter. The Jaguars Pregame Show airs 30 minutes before kickoff at 8:00 p.m. on WJXT with hosts Jennifer Candelino and Dave Widell.
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 (one hour before kickoff on all three stations), 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.
ON THE INTERNET: For breaking news, press releases, historical information, video highlights, rosters, depth charts and statistics, go to www.jaguars.com Updated daily, the Jaguars' Official Web Site has been ranked among the 100 Best Sites in the World by PC Magazine. The site also features online ticket buying, new merchandise offerings and multimedia, including live video of Jaguars television shows and live radio broadcasts of games.
THE OPPONENT: The Cowboys have won five Super Bowls during their 40-year history. Dallas was awarded the NFL's first-ever expansion franchise, and the Cowboys began play in 1960, going 0-11-1. They advanced to the playoffs for the first time in 1966 and lost to Green Bay in the league title game two straight seasons. The Cowboys lost their first Super Bowl in 1970 to Baltimore, then defeated Miami the following season for their first NFL championship. Jerry Jones purchased the club in 1989 and hired Jimmy Johnson as head coach, and Dallas won Super Bowls in 1992 and '93 and again in 1995 under Barry Switzer. The Cowboys have appeared in the playoffs 19 times in the last 23 years. They finished 5-11 in 2000 and in fourth place in the NFC Eastern Division.
THE SERIES: The Jaguars and the Cowboys have played two times in the regular season, with the Cowboys winning 26-22 in 1997 and the Jaguars winning 23-17 in overtime last year. Both games were played at Texas Stadium. They have also played twice in the preseason, with Jacksonville winning both games, 42-20 in 1998 in Jacksonville and 27-6 in 1999 in Dallas.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars ended a five-game losing streak with a 23-17 overtime victory over the Dallas Cowboys at Texas Stadium on October 29, 2000. Alvis Whitted scored on a 37-yard pass from Mark Brunell on the first series of overtime for his second touchdown of the game, as the Jaguars ended their longest losing streak in five years. The Jaguars did not turn the ball over and were not sacked in the game. Brunell threw for three touchdowns and tied a team record for passing accuracy, as he completed 20 of 24 passes. Tight end Kyle Brady caught 10 of those passes for 134 yards, both career highs, as he eclipsed the 100-yard mark for the second straight week. Fred Taylor had his third consecutive 100-yard rushing game, setting another team mark, as he gained 107 yards on 31 carries. The Jaguars jumped out to a 17-7 halftime lead but then struggled again in the second half, scoring no points until overtime. Meanwhile, the Cowboys rallied for 10 points in the second half, scoring the tying touchdown with 1:07 to play. Dallas opened the scoring on its initial possession, marching 64 yards. The Jaguars struck back with 17 points in the second period, 10 of them off Dallas turnovers. Mike Hollis kicked a 42-yard field goal, Brunell connected with Brady on a three-yard TD pass, and, with 13 seconds left before halftime, Brunell found Whitted on a fade in the end zone.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE COWBOYS WOULD: Give them a 3-1 record in the preseason, a 19-10 preseason record in seven seasons and a 3-0 record vs. the Cowboys in the preseason. It would also be their third consecutive winning record in the preseason (and fourth in seven years).
INJURY UPDATE: Three players are out indefinitely: WR Keenan McCardell (hernia surgery on Aug. 16), OT Tony Boselli (bruised bone in right knee on Aug. 19), and CB Fernando Bryant (separated shoulder on Aug. 23). C John Wade (foot) is on the active/physically unable to perform list. Four other players also missed the third preseason game due to injury: LB Anthony Denman (calf), MLB Richard Hogans (concussion), DT Ryan Harklau (leg) and TE Ryan Neufeld (calf).
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).
After 11 years as a Cowboys' assistant, Dave Campo was rewarded by being named the fifth head coach in club history in 2000. Campo went 5-11 in his first season. He previously served as Dallas' defensive coordinator (1995-99), secondary coach (1991-94), and defensive assistant (1989-1990). In three of the five years that Campo directed the Cowboys' defense, Dallas ranked among the league's top 10 defenses, including ranking second in 1997 and third in 1996. In 1995, the Cowboys' defense ranked third in the NFL in fewest touchdowns allowed on the way to a fifth Super Bowl title, the third since Campo's arrival. Prior to coming to the Cowboys, Campo served as the secondary coach for two years at the University of Miami, helping the Hurricanes win a national championship (1987). Campo was a defensive back and standout shortstop on the baseball team at Central Connecticut State. He started his coaching career as an assistant at his alma mater (1971-72), and also served as an assistant at Albany State (1973), Bridgeport (1974), Pittsburgh (1975), Washington State (1976), Boise State (1977-79), Oregon State (1980), Weber State (1981-82), Iowa State (1983), and Syracuse (1984-86).
COUGHLIN IN SEVENTH SEASON WITH JAGUARS: Jaguars head coach Tom Coughlin is in his seventh season as the team's head coach, 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. (Records include all teams coached by an individual during the regular season. Minimum of 16 home games.)
JACKSONVILLE-DALLAS CONNECTIONS: Two Jaguars are former Cowboys: WR Jimmy Smith was drafted in the second round in 1992 and was a member of their Super Bowl XXVII team, and TE/FB Lawrence Hart was in Dallas' training camp last year. ... Jaguars WR Richmond Flowers' father played for the Cowboys from 1969 to '71 … Seven Jaguars have ties to Texas: WR Keenan McCardell (Houston), DE Tony Brackens (Fairfield, University of Texas), CB Shad Criss (Sherman), WR/KR Damon Gibson (Houston) and P David Leaverton (Midland). ... Eight Cowboys have ties to the state of Florida: RB Emmitt Smith (Escambia, University of Florida), LB Darren Hambrick (Pasco, University of Florida before transferring to the University of South Carolina), CB Mario Edwards (Florida State), S Sean Key (Miami, Florida State), WR Siaha Burley (Central Florida), OT Char-ron Dorsey (Jacksonville, The Bolles School, Florida State), C Craig Page (Jupiter) and DE Colston Weatherington (Graceville). … Cowboys receivers coach Wes Chandler was born in New Smyrna Beach and played for the University of Florida (1974-77); also, LB coach George Edwards coached at the University of Florida (1990-91) ... Players who were college teammates include: Jaguars DT Larry Smith and G Justin Amman with Cowboys CB Mario Edwards at Florida State; Jaguars DE Tony Brackens and Cowboys WR Wane McGarity at Texas; Jaguars CB Fernando Bryant with Cowboys DL Michael Myers, S Tony Dixon and DT Jamie Carter at Alabama; Jaguars CB Aaron Beasley with Cowboys OT Solomon Page at West Virginia; Jaguars DT Marcus Stroud with Cowboys QB Quincy Carter at Georgia; Jaguars WR R. Jay Soward with Cowboys LB Markus Steele at USC; Jaguars RB Shyrone Stith with Cowboys G/C Matt Lehr at Virginia Tech; Jaguars G LeShun Daniels, RB Jerry Westbrooks and DE Brent Johnson with Cowboys RB Michael Wiley at Ohio State; Jaguars DE Rob Meier with Cowboys S Earl Riley at Washington State; Jaguars S James Boyd with Cowboys DT Brandon Noble at Penn State; Jaguars S Marlon McCree with Cowboys TE James Whalen at Kentucky; Jaguars P David Leaverton and LB Eric Westmoreland with Cowboys WR Jeremaine Copeland at Tennessee; Jaguars G/OT Reggie Nelson with Cowboys TE Chris Fontenot at McNeese State; Jaguars C McAllister Collins with Cowboys CB Duane Hawthorne at Northern Illinois; Jaguars LB Joe Wesley with Cowboys G Alcender Jackson at Louisiana State … Players from the same hometown include, Jaguars LB Hardy Nickerson and Cowboys G Larry Allen (Compton, Calif.); Jaguars OT Gannon Shepherd and Cowboys QB Quincy Carter and LB Orantes Grant (Atlanta); Jaguars DB Chandler Smith and Cowboys DL Michael Myers (Vicksburg, Miss.); and Jaguars DE Radell Lockhart and Cowboys OT James Wagstaff (Charlotte, N.C.).
LAST WEEK: After not scoring a touchdown in the first two preseason games, the Jaguars broke out with four touchdown passes and a thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Kansas City Chiefs last Thursday night at ALLTEL Stadium. Mark Brunell threw two TD passes and backups Jonathan Quinn and Jamie Martin had one each, as the Jaguars improved to 2-1 for the preseason. The bigger news was the return of WR Jimmy Smith to the lineup. Playing for the first time since undergoing three abdominal surgeries in the spring, Smith scored on his first reception, a 37-yard TD pass from Brunell, and he led the team with five catches for 78 yards, igniting the Jacksonville offense out of its slump. The Jaguars fell behind 20-7 at the half, but the first-string offense started off the third quarter with a touchdown pass from Brunell to Damon Jones, who was seeing his first action since suffering a torn ACL last September. Later, Quinn connected with R. Jay Soward for a 33-yard score and then Martin, with his only pass in the game, hit Alvis Whitted on a slant for a 58-yard TD and a 28-23 lead. Late in the game, Kansas City drove to the Jacksonville one-yard line, but the Jaguars' second-string defense stopped the Chiefs on third and fourth down with 1:33 remaining. The Jaguars were forced to punt out of their own end zone and the Chiefs mounted another drive, but, on the final play, Paul Spicer came up with his second sack of the game to end the threat.
NOTES FROM THE CHIEFS GAME: The Jaguars won, but they had fewer first downs (13 to 27), fewer yards (247 to 342) and less time of possession (19:27 to 40:33). … They converted only 3 of 10 third downs (30 percent) while the Chiefs were 10 of 18 (56 percent). … Jacksonville had one turnover and three takeaways. … Mark Brunell completed 10 of 15 passes for 154 yards and two TDs with no interceptions for a passer rating of 140.0. Quinn was 3 of 6 for 53 yards and a TD, and Martin was 1 of 1 for a 58-yard TD. … Fred Taylor led the team with 27 rushing yards on 13 carries. … MLB Hardy Nickerson led the team with 14 tackles, followed by SLB Kevin Hardy with 10 tackles and LB Danny Clark with nine. … DE Paul Spicer had two sacks, and Rob Meier, Kevin Hardy and T.J. Slaughter had one each. The Jaguars allowed two sacks. … David Leaverton and newly acquired Chris Hanson shared the punting duties. Leaverton punted four times for a 43.8-yard average and 59 long, and Hanson kicked three times for a 37.0-yard average and a 43 long. … Players who dressed but did not play were: QB Ted White, WR Marcellus Harris, WR Randal Williams, CB Chandler Smith, RB Jerry Westbrooks, S James Watkins, CB Evan Hlavacek, LB Ryan Goven, G Billy Young, DT Julius Yeast, C McAllister Collins, G Justin Amman, DE Radell Lockhart, G LeShun Daniels and OT Jeff Long. Seven players did not dress: LB Anthony Denman, MLB Richard Hogans, C John Wade, DT Ryan Harklau, OT Tony Boselli, TE Ryan Neufeld and WR Keenan McCardell. … Jaguars captains were C Jeff Smith and LB T.J. Slaughter.
FROM COACH TOM COUGHLIN ON THE CHIEFS GAME: "I was very disappointed in the first half. In the first half, we had a defense that couldn't stop the other team, couldn't get them off the field, and we had an offense that couldn't run the ball and couldn't keep the ball at all. Those are not very good signs. We had a tremendous disparity in snaps at the half. We talked about coming back out here and making it a totally different half.
(on the second-string defense) "I'm encouraged when I watched the young defensive players. They fly around and they get themselves into trouble and they get out of it. That goal-line stand, who can say enough about that? And when you had to have a play twice, Paul Spicer made superior plays, coming around the left tackle to make the sack, and the quarterback never even saw him. That young defensive team kind of scrambles around and makes things happen."
(on the secondary) "I'm not very happy about it, let's put it that way. You have to get the other guy off the field. That's a team (the Chiefs) that decided to come in here and work on their passing game, and they did a good job of it. They caught us single-high, and they hit the same post over and over on us. We didn't seem to be able to shut it down. I am concerned; there's no question about it. In this league, you better be able to get people off the field defensively. There's no denying the things that are most obvious, and if we don't do something about it, that will be a difficult thing to overcome in the regular season."
(on Jimmy Smith) "That's one thing I am really pleased with. He had opportunities to get the ball. And how about he starts off with the touchdown on the fade? Mark (Brunell) had the ball right on the money. That was a super play. That was great. That was almost by script - the first time he touched it, it's in the end zone. Excellent throw by Mark. That was pretty special, pretty emotional."
FROM WR JIMMY SMITH: (on returning to action) "It felt good; it felt real good. A lot of people didn't think I would make it. A lot of people didn't think I would ever play again, but I kept my faith in God and I had good people around me: my family, my teammates, coach Coughlin, the whole training staff. Everybody was pulling for me and helping me rehab and get back."
(on his play) "I was a little rusty out there for the most part, but as the game went on I loosened up a little bit and I was able to make some plays in the third quarter. The biggest thing was that it was a lift for the team. After we got that drive going in the third quarter, it seemed like the whole team started performing better."
FROM QB MARK BRUNELL: (on running the ball) "It was frustrating tonight. We're still tweaking this thing. We have two weeks before the opener and with the guys we have, we know that we're capable of running the football. We've got one of the best in the league back there in Fred Taylor, so we'll get it done."
FROM LB KEVIN HARDY: (on the defensive scheme) "I don't think the scheme is that different. We're playing a lot of the same things that we have been playing. It's just a matter of us getting guys into position. We're going to evaluate the film and see exactly where we went wrong, and hopefully there be just some minor adjustments we can correct and get ready to play. Guys have to be accountable. Right now, we have to stick together, that's the most important thing. We have to believe in the system and then go out and execute. Once we do that, we're going to be fine."
NEXT WEEK: The Jaguars will open their seventh season when they host the Pittsburgh Steelers at 1:00 p.m. EDT Sunday, September 9 at ALLTEL Stadium. The Jaguars have won five consecutive season openers, the second-longest streak in the NFL, and their .833 percentage on their 5-1 mark in first games is the best in the NFL. The Jaguars and Steelers have played 12 times, with the Jaguars holding a 7-5 lead in the series. The two teams opened the 1996 season at ALLTEL Stadium, with the Jaguars coming away with a 24-9 victory.
2001 POSITION ANALYSIS: Here is a position-by-position breakdown of the Jaguars:
Quarterbacks (3) - 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, and his 48 wins the past five seasons are second to Brett Favre. 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). Gone: Nobody
Running Backs (7) - 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 two new players battling for the role as Taylor's lead blocker - undrafted rookie Patrick Washington and Kevin Clemens (an Arena League player). Mack and tight end Lawrence Hart have also worked at fullback. Gone: Daimon Shelton, Anthony Johnson
Wide Receivers (10) - Perhaps the deepest position on the team. Jimmy Smith 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 (sidelined indefinitely following hernia surgery), 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 and undrafted rookie sleeper Randal Williams out of New Hampshire. Gone: Reggie Barlow, Emanuel Smith
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, played in his first game last Thursday against Kansas City and scored on his first reception. He will be the No. 2 tight end again. In 1999, Jones 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 Lawrence Hart, Ryan Prince and Joe Zelenka. Gone: Rich Griffith
Offensive Line (14) - 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, who has been named to five straight Pro Bowls, is sidelined with a bruised bone on his right knee suffered on August 19. 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 the preseason - veteran Zach Wiegert will start at right guard. Williams, the fourth offensive tackle drafted this year, is attempting to become the third Jaguars rookie to start the opener on the offensive line (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 and he started last week vs. Kansas City. Among the backups are tackle Gannon Shepherd and guards Aaron Koch (who started at right guard the first two preseason games and played some center) 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 (13) - 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 (11) - 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. The new weakside starter is T.J. Slaughter, who started six games at middle linebacker last year. 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. Although he has not played weakside linebacker since his sophomore season at Southern Mississippi, he has started all three preseason games. The backup on the weakside is third-round draft choice Eric Westmoreland, who has been compared to former Minnesota Viking Ed McDaniel. The top backup at strongside linebacker is Danny Clark, who led the team in special teams tackles as a rookie in 2000. Providing depth in the middle is Joseph Tuipala, a star in the XFL last spring. Gone: Lonnie Marts, Brant Boyer, Erik Storz
Defensive Backs (13) - 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. Gone: Mike Logan, Rayna Stewart, Erik Olson
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 second-year player Chris Hanson are battling for the job, and they rotated the punting duties in the last preseason game. Leaverton, the second punter drafted this year, is the favorite. Jim Tarle, who played the final six games of 2000, has handled kickoffs in the preseason. Hollis' snapper and holder will be new this year, most likely either Jamie Martin or Jonathan Quinn. Seventh-round draft choice Randy Chevrier is manning the No. 1 job at both short and long snapper during training camp, though former Redskin and 49er Joe Zelenka was signed to provide competition. 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 moved 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.
THE TEAL IS REAL . . . In the last four seasons, the Jaguars' record is tied for the second best in the NFL, two games behind the Minnesota Vikings and tied with the Denver Broncos. The Jaguars have won 43 of their last 64 regular-season games (they also won their final five games in 1996).
JAGUARS HAVE THIRD-BEST HOME RECORD AND BEST ROAD RECORD SINCE 1996: The Jaguars went 7-1 at ALLTEL Stadium from 1996 to '99 and finished 4-4 last season, giving them a 32-8 record for the third-best mark at home since the start of the 1996 season. On the road, the Jaguars are tied with the best record and they are one of only four NFL teams with a better-than-.500 mark on the road dating back to November 24, 1996. The Jaguars' all-time regular-season road record is 22-26.
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).
JAGUARS HAVE BALANCED OFFENSE ... Although the Jaguars are often referred to as a passing team, in reality they have a balanced attack that features the run.
In the last three seasons, the Jaguars have rushed for 6,225 yards on the ground, the fifth most in the NFL, and they are the only team to have more than 2,000 yards rushing each of the last three seasons.
JAGUARS SCORE ON THE GROUND … In the last four seasons, the Jaguars have rushed for 77 touchdowns, second most in the NFL.
… AND STOP THEIR OPPONENTS: In the last five seasons, the Jaguars have allowed only 50 rushing TDs, the NFL's fourth-best mark.
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). They are the only wide receiver tandem in NFL history to have 400 receptions each over a five-year span. 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.
... AND SMITH LEADS ALL RECEIVERS IN YARDAGE: Over the last five seasons, Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has amassed more receiving yardage than any receiver in the NFL, and teammate Keenan McCardell is seventh.
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 HAS FIVE STRAIGHT 1,000-YARD SEASONS: Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark receiving five straight seasons, a feat accomplished by only six other players in NFL history and which ties him for fifth all time behind Jerry Rice (11 straight 1,000-yard seasons), Tim Brown and Cris Carter (8 straight), and Lance Alworth (7 straight). Here's the list:
PLAYER YEARS TEAM 1,000+
Jerry Rice 1986-96 San Francisco 11
Tim Brown 1993-00 Oakland 8
Cris Carter 1993-00 Minnesota 8
Lance Alworth 1963-69 Pittsburgh 7
Jimmy Smith 1996-00 Jacksonville 5
Michael Irvin 1991-95 Dallas 5
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.
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.
TAYLOR TIED WITH THIRD-MOST TOUCHDOWNS LAST THREE YEARS: Despite missing 10 full games and parts of eight others, Jaguars RB Fred Taylor is tied with the third-most touchdowns over the last three seasons.
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.
HOLLIS IS FOURTH-LEADING SCORER SINCE 1995: Jaguars PK Mike Hollis has scored 681 points in his six NFL seasons, tied for fourth among NFL kickers in that time.
BRUNELL HAS SEVENTH-BEST WINNING PERCENTAGE: Jaguars QB Mark Brunell has the seventh-best career winning percentage of active quarterbacks (minimum 20 wins). Also, in the last five years, Brunell has the second-most victories (48) of any quarterback other than Green Bay's Brett Favre.
BRUNELL ON CENTRAL TIME: Jaguars QB Mark Brunell has the NFL's second-best division record as a starter among active quarterbacks. Since joining the Jaguars in 1995, Brunell has compiled a 30-14 (.682) record as a starter against the AFC Central.
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).