Local Television: WTEV Ch. 47 (Ch. 6 cable), Gus Johnson (play by play), Matt Robinson (color analyst), Ryan Elijah (field reporter).
Also live on WRBW (Orlando), WGFL (Gainesville) and WSAV (Savannah). Tape delay on Sunshine Network.
Local Radio: WOKV (690 AM) and WKQL (96.9 FM), Brian Sexton (play by play), Jeff Lageman (color analyst), Jennifer Candelino (field reporter)
THIS WEEK: A new era begins for the Jaguars on Saturday night, when new head coach Jack Del Rio leads the team into its 2003 preseason against the Minnesota Vikings. Kickoff for the first game of the year is at 8:00 p.m. EDT in the Metrodome in Minneapolis.
Del Rio was hired on January 17, and he will lead the Jaguars into their first game since last December 29, one day before Tom Coughlin was fired following eight seasons as the team's head coach. Del Rio has quickly made his mark on the franchise. He has teamed with new vice president of player personnel James Harris in retooling the team's roster. There are 42 new players on the 86-man roster, and the team could have as many as nine new starters when the regular season begins. The new players include four unrestricted free agents (including stars Hugh Douglas and Mike Peterson), 13 veteran free agents, seven first-year free agents, nine draft choices and nine undrafted rookies.
The Jaguars have a 19-14 record in the preseason in their first eight seasons (they were 1-3 in 2002), and they have won their preseason opener three of the last four years. Saturday's matchup features the return of Del Rio, who played for the Vikings from 1992 to '95. He and Vikings head coach Mike Tice were teammates for three seasons.
JAGUARS ON THE AIR THIS WEEK:
Monday — Jaguars Reporters, 6:00 p.m., WOKV Radio, with Brian Sexton, Vic Ketchman
Tuesday — The Jack Del Rio Show, 6:00 p.m., WOKV Radio
Wednesday — Jaguars This Week, 6:00 p.m., WOKV Radio
THE OPPONENT: The Minnesota Vikings joined the NFL as an expansion team in 1961 and had their first winning season in 1964 and first division title in 1968. A year later, Minnesota beat Cleveland for its first and only NFL championship, before losing to the Kansas City Chiefs in Super Bowl IV. The Vikings also appeared in Super Bowls VIII, IX and XI, all losses. Between 1968 and 1982, the Vikings won 11 division titles and appeared in the playoffs 12 times under legendary coach Bud Grant. The Vikings missed the playoffs from 1983 to '86, but qualified for the postseason in 11 of the last 16 seasons. In 2002, the team's first under head coach Mike Tice, the Vikings finished 6-10 and in second place in the NFC North Division.
THE SERIES: The Jaguars and Vikings have played two times. The Vikings won the initial meeting 50-10 in 1998, and the Jaguars won the 2001 rematch 33-3. Both games were played in Minnesota.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars defeated the Minnesota Vikings 33-3 at the Metrodome on December 23, 2001, winning their third consecutive road game and improving to 6-8 for the season. Stacey Mack had his second consecutive 100-yard rushing game and scored two touchdowns, as the Jaguars gained a season-high 214 yards on the ground. Mark Brunell threw a touchdown pass in leading an offense that allowed only one sack and did not turn the ball over, and Mike Hollis kicked a season-high four field goals. The Jaguars scored on their first four possessions and seven of eight possessions before a kneel-down to end the game. Jacksonville scored in all four quarters in their most decisive victory in more than a year, and the 33 points was their highest total of the season. The defense gave up only one field goal on the final play of the first half and held the Minnesota offense to only 214 yards — just 28 of them on the ground, the fewest ever allowed by a Jaguars team. The Jaguars forced Vikings starting QB Todd Bouman out of the game with a sprained thumb on Minnesota's first series, and the Vikings had only two drives of more than 25 yards behind third-string QB Spergon Wynn.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE VIKINGS WOULD: Give them a 1-0 record in the 2003 preseason and their first win under new head coach Jack Del Rio. It would also give the Jaguars their fourth victory in their last five preseason openers, as well as a 20-14 preseason record in nine years.
THE COACHES: Jack Del Rio was named Jaguars head coach on January 17, 2003, becoming the second head coach in Jaguars' history. At 40, Del Rio is the second youngest head coach in the NFL (four months older than Jon Gruden). Del Rio spent 11 years as an NFL linebacker and had a standout college career at the University of Southern California. He previously coached in New Orleans (1997-98), Baltimore (1999-2001), and Carolina (2002). He was the Panthers' defensive coordinator, and in his only season with the club the defense improved from 31st in the NFL to second, the biggest one season defensive improvement in NFL history. Del Rio was the linebackers coach for three seasons in Baltimore, where the Ravens' defense also ranked second each season. He helped the team win Super Bowl XXXV over the New York Giants and coached the Ravens' talented linebackers, overseeing the development of Peter Boulware, Jamie Sharper and Ray Lewis, the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV. Prior to coaching, Del Rio played 11 seasons in the NFL, with New Orleans (1985-86), Kansas City (1987-88), Dallas (1989-1991) and Minnesota (1992-95), playing in the Pro Bowl following the 1994 season. Del Rio was a starter at linebacker for Southern California (1981-84), where he earned All-America honors, was a runner-up for the Lombardi Award and co-MVP of the 1985 Rose Bowl. Del Rio has learned from some of the best coaches in all of football. He was recruited to USC and played for John Robinson, and in the NFL he played under Bum Phillips, Jim Mora, Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Green. As an assistant coach, he has worked for Hall of Famer Mike Ditka and Super Bowl winner Brian Billick, as well as John Fox. Drafted by baseball's Toronto Blue Jays, Del Rio batted .340 while playing catcher on USC's baseball team in 1983 and 1984 with future stars Randy Johnson and Mark McGwire. He was a third-round choice by the New Orleans Saints in 1985 and was named to the NFL's All-Rookie team.
In 2002, Mike Tice's Vikings won their final three games to finish with a record of 6-10. Tice is only the sixth head coach in the club's 42-year history and the first former Vikings player to serve in the role. After 14 years as an NFL player, he started his coaching career as a tight ends coach in 1996. Tice was elevated to the position of offensive line coach in 1997 and was promoted to assistant head coach for the 2001 season. His head coaching career started late in the 2001 season as Tice served as the Vikings' interim head coach for the club's regular-season finale. Tice was a starter at quarterback for Maryland (1979-1980). During his senior season, his backup at quarterback was future All-Pro Boomer Esiason. Tice signed with Seattle as a rookie free agent in 1981, but switched to tight end at the end of his first season. He had a career-high four touchdowns for the Seahawks in 1991. Tice also played one season (1989) in Washington. A Minnesota teammate of Jack Del Rio, he played three seasons for the Vikings (1992-93, 1995) before starting his coaching career as an assistant (1996). He caught 107 passes in his career and scored 11 touchdowns.
JACKSONVILLE-MINNESOTA CONNECTIONS: Head coaches Jack Del Rio (Jacksonville) and Mike Tice (Minnesota) were teammates on the Vikings in 1992-93 and '95. … Vikings DL coach Pete Bercich played with Del Rio in 1994 and '95, and Vikings strength coach Steve Wetzel held the same position when Del Rio was a Viking. … Vikings PK Hayden Epstein was a Jaguars draft choice in 2002, scoring 28 points in the first six points of the season. … Jaguars strength and conditioning coach Mark Asanovich was the Vikings' assistant strength coach in 1995. … Jaguars RB David Allen spent the 2002 preseason with the Vikings. … Jaguars TE Matt Cercone played in three games for the Vikings in 2000 and was on their practice squad most of 2001 and 2002. … Jaguars WR Matthew Hatchette played for the Vikings from 1997 to 2000. … Jaguars OT Jay Humphrey played for the Vikings in 1999, spent all of 2000 on their practice squad and was with them for the 2001 preseason. … Jaguars DE Marco Coleman played for Vikings assistant head coach George O'Leary when Georgia Tech won the 1990 national championship (O'Leary was the Yellowjackets' defensive coordinator). … Jaguars C Brett Romberg and Vikings OT Bryant McKinnie were teammates on the Miami Hiurricanes' 2001 national championship team.
TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE: The Jaguars are in their second full week of training camp. Practice times this week are as follows:
Monday — 8:45 a.m. to 11:00 and 4:00 to 5:30 p.m.
Tuesday — 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 to 9:50 p.m.
Wednesday — 10:30 to 12:00 and 3:30 to 5:35 p.m.
Thursday — 9:30 to 11:25 a.m.
Friday — 9:00 to 10:30 a.m.
Practices are held on the new practice fields adjacent to ALLTEL Stadium.
NEXT WEEK: The Jaguars will host the Miami Dolphins in their preseason home opener at 7:30 p.m. Friday, August 15 at ALLTEL Stadium. It will be the second preseason game between the two teams and the first since August 4, 1995, when the Jaguars won 24-21 on a last-second kick in the franchise's second game ever. The two teams have met in the regular season only once, on "Monday Night Football" in 1998, with Jacksonville winning 28-21. They did face off in the 1999 playoffs, with the Jaguars prevailing 62-7 in one of the most lopsided postseason games in pro football history. Last season, the Dolphins finished 9-7 and in third place in the AFC East.
NEW FACES: There are 42 new faces among the 86 players on the Jaguars' current training camp roster. Here is the breakdown.
Unrestricted Free Agents (4) — DE Hugh Douglas, FB Marc Edwards, LB Keith Mitchell, LB Mike Peterson
Veteran Free Agents (14) — DE Lionel Barnes, S Johndale Carty, OT Barry Hall, WR Matthew Hatchette, WR Donald Hayes, OT Jay Humphrey, WR-KR Jermaine Lewis, DT Reggie McGrew, G Jamar Nesbit, WR J.J. Stokes, CB James Trapp, PK James Tuthill, OT Sammy Williams
First-Year Free Agents (7) — RB David Allen, TE Matt Cercone, QB Quinn Gray, WR Kerry Hood, S Abdual Howard, CB Jason Olford, S Rick Sherrod
Draft Choices (9) — QB Byron Leftwich, DB Rashean Mathis, G Vince Manuwai, TE George Wrighster, RB LaBrandon Toefield, DE Brandon Green, S David Young, OT Marques Ogden, FB Malaefou MacKenzie
Undrafted Rookies (9) — CB Chris D. Brown, CB Chris L. Brown, WR Cortez Hankton, DT Matt Leonard, PK Seth Marler, LB Curtis Randall, C Brett Romberg, WR Kevin Simmonds, RB Joe Smith
2003 POSITION ANALYSIS: Here is a position-by-position breakdown of the Jaguars:
Quarterbacks (4) — Mark Brunell returns for his ninth season as the only quarterback in NFL history to lead his team in passing for the franchise's first eight seasons. In 2002, Brunell started 15 games and passed for 2,788 yards and 17 touchdowns. He remains the team's starter and is still one of the most consistent quarterbacks in the league. Byron Leftwich was selected with the seventh overall pick in the draft and is the team's quarterback of the future. A strong pocket passer, he set numerous records in his college career at Marshall, where he developed a reputation as a leader who plays through injuries. He amassed 11,903 yards passing and 89 touchdowns vs. only 28 interceptions. Leftwich has been a contract holdout so far in training camp. David Garrard, a fourth-round prick in 2002 who started the season finale, has looked impressive so far in training camp. He and Leftwich will compete for the No. 2 job behind Brunell. Quinn Gray returned from a strong NFLEL season to compete for a backup role. Gone: Kent Graham.
Running Backs (8) — Fred Taylor started all 16 games in 2002 for the first time in his career. He rushed for 1,314 yards and caught 49 passes, scoring eight touchdowns. Now two years removed from a groin injury that sidelined him for 14 games in 2001, Taylor remains one of the most dangerous runners in football. He figures to be utilized more as a receiver in the West Coast-style offense. With Stacey Mack having departed as a free agent, several players are competing for the backup job. The two favorites are third-year pro Elvis Joseph and fourth-round draft choice LaBrandon Toefield. Joseph did not carry the ball from scrimmage in 2002, but he did rush for 294 yards on 68 carries as an undrafted rookie in 2001. Toefield was a three-year starter at Louisiana State whose career was sidetracked by injuries, although he did rush for 2,149 yards and score 26 TDs. He gives the Jaguars a back with inside running abilities. The new starting fullback is Marc Edwards, a six-year veteran who won a Super Bowl with New England two years ago. Edwards is a sturdy blocker and fine receiver out of the backfield. Seventh-round draft pick Malaefou MacKenzie scored seven touchdowns on receptions last season at Southern California. David Allen, who starred this spring in the NFL Europe League (leading in all-purpose yards), could figure into the mix at running back and as a kick returner. Gone: Stacey Mack, Patrick Washington
Wide Receivers (11) — Jimmy Smith is back for his 11th NFL season and remains one of the NFL's top receivers. Although he caught only 80 passes in 2002, he surpassed 1,000 yards receiving for the seventh consecutive year, a feat accomplished by only four other players in NFL history. The job opposite Smith is up for grabs. The favorites are J.J. Stokes, Donald Hayes and Matthew Hatchette. Stokes, a No. 1 pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 1995, has career totals of 327 receptions for 4,139 yards and 30 touchdowns. He is tall and rangy with good hands and has been working with the No. 1 offense in training camp. Hayes posted solid numbers in Carolina in 2000 and 2001 (118 catches for 1,523 yards and five TDs) but struggled last season in New England as a prize free-agent signee. Kevin Lockett is vying for playing time and a possible role as the No. 3 or 4 receiver. Lockett joined the Jaguars midway through last season and caught two TD passes. Micah Ross and Jimmy Redmond are excellent special teams players. Jermaine Lewis was signed mainly as a kick returner. He has returned six punts for touchdowns in seven seasons (he led the league twice) and is also a fine kickoff returner (1,039 yards in 2001). Gone: Bobby Shaw, Patrick Johnson
Tight Ends (5) — Kyle Brady is one of the NFL's best tight ends. In his four seasons with the Jaguars, Brady has caught 175 passes, ranking fifth among NFL tight ends in that time. He is also a fine blocker in the running game, helping the Jaguars surpass 2,000 yards rushing three times in his four years. The backup role is uncertain. In the running are fourth-round draft choice George Wrighster (who played in the West Coast offense at Oregon) and 2002 fourth-rounder Chris Luzar (who played for offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave at Virginia in 2001). Joe Zelenka is one of the league's best long snappers. Gone: Pete Mitchell
Offensive Line (15) — The offensive line figures to be improved over 2002, when it was hit hard by injuries. The right side of the line is set with guard Chris Naeole and tackle Mo Williams. Naeole is the top player on the line and a potential Pro Bowler. Williams missed 11 games with a broken leg in 2002 but has developed into one of the AFC's top young tackles. Moving to center after three years and 48 consecutive starts at left guard is Brad Meester, who last manned the pivot in college at Northern Iowa. Back in familiar territory, Meester gives the line a smart and durable leader. Battling at left guard are former Panther Jamar Nesbit and third-round draft pick Vince Manuwai. Nesbit has started 45 games in the last three years, while Manuwai was a steal in the draft and one of college football's top pass protectors in 2002. This is one of the best battles of the preseason. The incumbent left tackle, Mike Pearson, who started 11 games as a second-round pick in 2002, is battling with Leander Jordan, another former Panther who is currently situated as the No. 1 left tackle. The two players will both get strong looks before a starter is named. Competing for backup roles are ex-Raven and Charger OT Sammy Williams and G/OT Daryl Terrell. Gone: Derrick Chambers (I.R.), Todd Fordham, Aaron Koch (I.R.), John Wade, Zach Wiegert, Chris Ziemann (I.R.),
Defensive Line (15) — The defensive line should be a team strong point. Free-agent acquisition Hugh Douglas joined the team in March and has proven to be one of the NFL top sackers over the last eight seasons. He ranks eighth among active players with 73.5 sacks (including 12.5 in 2002). Douglas will start at right end. At left end is 11-year veteran Marco Coleman, who has 61.5 sacks and 20 forced fumbles. Coleman joined the team a year ago and started all 16 games. The interior line is huge, with 6-foot-6 Marcus Stroud poised to have a breakout season and 6-foot-7 John Henderson ready to improve upon a fine rookie season. Stroud and Henderson were the Jaguars' first-round draft picks each of the last two seasons. Each player had 6.5 sacks in 2002. Jaguars career sack leader Tony Brackens is returning from microfracture knee surgery and a June appendectomy and could begin running this week. If he can make his way back into the lineup, he will give the team an excellent rotation at end. Paul Spicer and Lionel Barnes are reserve ends. The backups in the middle are fifth-year pro Larry Smith and former Florida Gator and 49ers No. 1 pick Reggie McGrew. Rookie DE Brandon Green (sixth round) has a non-stop motor and is pushing for playing time. Gone: No one
Linebackers (9) — Mike Peterson signed with the team following four years with the Indianapolis Colts and is ready to go to the Pro Bowl. One of the most talented linebackers in franchise history, Peterson is playing in the middle and figures to make lots of tackles behind Stroud and Henderson. The starting outside linebackers are Keith Mitchell and Akin Ayodele. Mitchell, a six-year veteran, is a big-play maker who has three career touchdowns and 19.5 sacks. Ayodele played in all 16 games as a rookie in 2002, making three starts and 108 tackles. A star defensive end at Purdue, he is a player to watch. There is plenty of depth in Danny Clark (16-game starter in 2002), Eric Westmoreland (third-round pick in 2001 who has started four games) and T.J. Slaughter (26 career starts). Gone: Wali Rainer
Defensive Backs (15) — The four starters from 2002 return. The corners are Fernando Bryant and Jason Craft. Bryant is a former No. 1 draft pick and four-year starter who loves to play man coverage. Craft was a fifth-round draft pick in 1999 who won the starting right cornerback job last year and started all 16 games. At strong safety, Donovin Darius was a Pro Bowl alternate in 2002 and one of the hardest-hitters in the game. He excels as a run defender. FS Marlon McCree tied a team record with six interceptions in 2002. He is being pushed by second-round draft pick Rashean Mathis, a Jacksonville product, who might also get a look at cornerback. James Trapp, a 10-year veteran who has played in 144 games could be the nickel back. He provides excellent veteran leadership. Depth is provided by CB Kiwaukee Thomas (no missed games in three seasons) and CB Ike Charlton (former No. 2 pick of Seattle who found a home in Jacksonville in 2002). Gone: Ainsley Battles, Robert Bean, James Boyd, Steve Smith
Kickers (4) — Chris Hanson was the AFC's Pro Bowl punter in 2002, developing into the best punter in the conference in only his second full season. Last year, Hanson posted averages of 44.2 yards gross and 37.6 net, with 27 kicks inside the 20. The Jaguars led the league in downed punts. At placekicker, however, there is no frontrunner, with three players competing for the job. The incumbent is Danny Boyd, who handled the kicking duties for the final five games of 2002. The team's fourth kicker of the season a year ago, Boyd was 5 for 5 on field goals. James Tuthill scored 50 points in 11 games with the Redskins in 2002, and Seth Marler has been impressive so far in training camp with his long kicks. Gone: No one
A LOOK BACK AT THE 2002 SEASON: The Jacksonville Jaguars finished the 2002 season with a 6-10 record, their third consecutive losing season. Following a 3-1 start — including victories over the New York Jets and Philadelphia Eagles that made the Jaguars one of the surprise teams in the league — the team lost nine of its final 12 games. The Jaguars have finished 6-10 each of the last two seasons, following a 7-9 campaign in 2000.
In 2002, the Jaguars finished 3-5 at home, 3-5 on the road and 1-5 against division opponents in the AFC South. Eight of their 10 losses in 2002 were by a touchdown or less (their two biggest losses were to the Tennessee Titans by 9 and 18 points), with five of the other losses by a field goal or less. Jacksonville was 6-2 when scoring more than 20 points. Defensively, they allowed an average of only 19.7 points per game that was the fourth-lowest mark in the AFC. They scored an average of 26.3 points a game in their six wins and only 16.6 points in their 10 losses.
In the last six seasons, the Jaguars have the 10th-best record in the NFL, a 55-41 mark that is 10 games behind the Green Bay Packers. The Jaguars also are tied with the NFL's seventh-best home record, 38-18 dating back to 1996, and they are tied for the NFL's fourth-best road record with a 26-24 mark going back to the 1996 season.
Here's a summary of the 2002 Jacksonville Jaguars:
- Finished third in the AFC South Division with a 6-10 record
- Lost eight of the 10 games by a touchdown or less, five of them by a total of 10 points
- Were the only team in the NFL to face seven of the 12 playoffs teams during the 2002 regular season, and the only team to play nine of its 16 games against playoff teams
- The franchise's eight-year record in the regular season moved to 68-60
- Won three of eight games at ALLTEL Stadium. In eight years, they are 40-24 at home
- Won three games on the road. Over the last seven seasons, they are 26-24 on the road
- Won only 1 of 6 games in the new AFC South
- The offense ranked 25th in the NFL in yards gained (10th rushing, 28th passing)
- The defense ranked 20th in the NFL in yards allowed (25th rushing, 14th passing)
- Allowed only 315 points (19.7 per game), fourth lowest in the AFC
- Scored 328 points (20.5 per game)
- Were the only team with a losing record to score more points than they allowed
- P Chris Hanson was selected to his first Pro Bowl
- RB Fred Taylor started all 16 games and rushed for 1,314 yards, the second-highest season total in franchise history
- Are one of only 10 teams that have been in the playoffs at least four of the last seven seasons. Five teams have been in the playoffs five times since 1996 (Green Bay, Miami, Minnesota, San Francisco and Tampa Bay) and five teams have been in the playoffs four times since 1996 (Jacksonville, Denver, New England, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia).
- Averaged 56,277 in home attendance in 2002, and average 65,070 in eight seasons
- WR Jimmy Smith caught 80 passes for 1,027 yards and posted his seventh consecutive 1,000-yard season, tying for the fourth-longest streak in NFL history
- FS Marlon McCree made six interceptions and tied the team single-season record
STATISTICAL ANOMOLY I: In the six seasons from 1997 to 2002, only four teams with losing records scored more points than they allowed, and the Jaguars did it three of the four times — each of the last three years, in fact.
STATISTICAL ANOMALY II: Despite finishing with a 6-10 record each of the last two seasons, the Jaguars allowed the third-fewest points in the AFC in that time. The Jaguars allowed only 609 points in 2001 and 2002 combined, more than only the Pittsburgh Steelers (23-8-1 record, 557 points allowed) and Miami Dolphins (20-12 record, 591 points allowed). The Oakland Raiders, for example, went 21-11 the last two years but allowed 631 points.
THE TEAL IS REAL . . . In the last six seasons, the Jaguars' record is the 10th best in the NFL, 10 games behind the Green Bay Packers.
JAGUARS HAVE SEVENTH-BEST HOME RECORD AND THIRD-BEST ROAD RECORD SINCE 1996: After the Jaguars went 7-1 at ALLTEL Stadium four times from 1996 to '99, they have a 38-18 record that is tied for the seventh-best mark at home since the start of the 1996 season. On the road, the Jaguars are tied with the fourth-best record and they are one of only seven NFL teams with a better-than-.500 mark on the road dating back to November 24, 1996.
HANSON LED AFC IN BOTH GROSS AND NET PUNTING: Chris Hanson, in only his second full season as the punter for the Jaguars, has established himself as one of the NFL's premier punters and was voted to the Pro Bowl last season. He led the AFC in both gross punting and net punting and ranked second in gross and third in net in the NFL.
JAGUARS ALLOWED THIRD-FEWEST SACKS IN 2002: Only one season after allowing 63 sacks in 2001, the second-highest total in the league, the Jaguars' retooled offensive line gave up only 42 sacks in 2002, the third-fewest allowed in team history.
TAKE THAT: In 2002, the Jaguars finished plus-12 in the turnover category, tied for second in the conference and tied for fifth in the NFL. The defense made 13 interceptions and recovered 12 fumbles, with an additional fumble recovery and interception on special teams.
ROOKIE SACKER: Jaguars No. 1 draft choice John Henderson led NFL rookie defensive tackles in sacks, and his 6.5 sacks were the fourth most by all rookies.
DYNAMIC DUO: Defensive tackles John Henderson and Marcus Stroud, in only their first and second years in the league respectively, had the eighth-most sacks by a defensive line tandem in the AFC with 13 sacks in 2002. In addition, Stroud and Henderson were the only defensive tackle teammates in the NFL to each have as many as 6.5 sacks in 2002.
JAGUARS HAVE BALANCED OFFENSE: In the last five seasons, the Jaguars have rushed for 9,914 yards on the ground, the sixth most in the NFL. They were the only team to have more than 2,000 yards rushing each of the three seasons from 1998 to 2000 (an injury to Fred Taylor held them to 1,600 rushing yards in 2001), and they are one of only three teams to have rushed for 2,000 yards in four of the last five years. And, over the past seven seasons, the Jaguars have the seventh-most passing yards in the NFL.
JAGUARS SCORE ON THE GROUND … In the last six seasons, the Jaguars have rushed for 107 touchdowns, the most in the NFL.
… AND STOP THEIR OPPONENTS: In the last seven seasons, the Jaguars have allowed only 79 rushing TDs, the NFL's fourth-best mark.
THE BRUNELL TO SMITH CONNECTION: Mark Brunell and Jimmy Smith connected on six touchdowns last season, giving the tandem 44 scores in eight years, ranking second among active players.
SMITH HAD SEVENTH STRAIGHT 1,000-YARD SEASON: Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark receiving seven straight seasons, a feat accomplished by only four other players and now tied for the fourth-longest streak in NFL history. He ranks fourth all time behind Jerry Rice (11 straight 1,000-yard seasons), Tim Brown (9 straight), Cris Carter (8 straight), and he is tied with Lance Alworth (7 straight).
SMITH 19TH AMONG ALL-TIME RECEIVERS: Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith is 19th on the NFL's all-time receiving list and 21st in career receiving yards. Smith has 664 career receptions for 9,287 yards.
SMITH IS NO. 5 WITH 5.0 RECEPTIONS PER GAME: Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith averages 5.0 receptions per game played during his career, the fifth-highest average in NFL history. Interestingly, Smith did not catch a pass in his first 15 NFL games played (seven in Dallas, eight in Jacksonville), otherwise he would average 5.6 catches per game or second all-time.
SMITH HAS MORE RECEPTIONS THAN 17 OF 19 HALL OF FAME RECEIVERS: Even though he finished only his eighth season as a Jaguar, Jimmy Smith already has more receptions and receiving yards than 17 of the 19 receivers who have been inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
TAYLOR IN 2002: In 2002, while starting all 16 games for the first time in his career, Jaguars RB Fred Taylor set a number of team and individual milestones. He broke the team record for total yards from scrimmage (1,722), had his third 1,000-yard season (1,314, second most in a season) and set a career high for receptions (49).
TAYLOR HAS SIXTH-MOST TOUCHDOWNS LAST FIVE YEARS: Despite missing 24 full games and parts of nine others, Jaguars RB Fred Taylor is tied with the sixth-most touchdowns over the last five seasons among active players.
BRUNELL'S TOUCHDOWN TARGETS: Mark Brunell has thrown 142 TD passes in eight seasons with the Jaguars. Here are the 22 players who have caught them: Jimmy Smith (44), Keenan McCardell (26), Damon Jones (11), Willie Jackson (10), Kyle Brady (9), Pete Mitchell (9), James Stewart (5), Fred Taylor (4), Ernest Givins (3), Cedric Tillman (3), Alvis Whitted (3), Andre Rison (2), Elvis Joseph (2), Patrick Johnson (2), Kevin Lockett (2), Derek Brown (1), Ty Hallock (1), Desmond Howard (1), Natrone Means (1), R. Jay Soward (1), Stacey Mack (1) and Bobby Shaw (1).
BRUNELL HAS 11TH-BEST WINNING PERCENTAGE: Jaguars QB Mark Brunell has the 11th-best career winning percentage of active quarterbacks (minimum 20 wins). Brunell also owns the NFL's third-best record in divisional games (37-21, .638), and in the last eight seasons, he has the most victories of any quarterback other than Green Bay's Brett Favre.
JAGUARS AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS IN 2002: The Jaguars finished 25th in the NFL in total offense (10th rushing, 28th passing), and they were 20th in defense (25th rushing and 14th passing). They allowed 315 points, the fourth-lowest total in the AFC. … The offense was 14th in the AFC with 275 first downs and 15th in the conference in third-down percentage (71 of 207, 34.3 percent). The defense was 8th in allowing 324 first downs and ninth in the AFC in opponent's third-down conversions (83 of 212, 39.2 percent). … The Jaguars finished plus-12 on the turnover table, tied for second in the AFC and tied for fifth in the NFL. … The Jaguars were eighth in the AFC with a 54.9 percent rate on scoring touchdowns inside the red zone (28 of 51). Defensively, the Jaguars were fifth in the AFC with opponents scoring touchdowns on 49.1 percent of red zone opportunities (26 of 53). … QB Mark Brunell was seventh in the AFC in passing with a 85.7 passer rating. His seven interceptions were the second-fewest in the conference and tied his career low as a starter. … RB Stacey Mack tied for 12th in the AFC with 54 points off nine touchdowns, with RB Fred Taylor ranked 16th with 52 points (eight TDs, 2 X2) and WR Jimmy Smith tied for 22nd with 44 points (7 TDs, 1 X2). … Taylor ranked seventh in the AFC with 1,314 rushing yards and Mack was 21st with 436 rushing yards. Taylor also was ninth in the AFC with 1,722 yards from scrimmage. … WR Jimmy Smith ranked 11th in the AFC in receiving with 80 receptions, and his 1,027 receiving yards was tied for ninth. … Chris Hanson led the AFC in both gross punting (44.2) and net punting (37.6). He had the most downed punts (18) in the NFL. … Bobby Shaw was fourth in the AFC with a 12.4 average on punt returns. … Elvis Joseph was 16th in the AFC with a 20.8 average on kickoff returns. … S Marlon McCree tied for second in the AFC with six interceptions. … John Henderson and Marcus Stroud both had 6.5 sacks and tied for 19th in the AFC.
STATS AND SUCH: Mark Brunell is 63-51 in 114 regular-season starts, 67-55 overall. … WR Jimmy Smith has played in 127 of the 128 games in Jaguars history. Of the current players, next are QB Mark Brunell (117) and DE Tony Brackens (92). … The longest streak of consecutive starts is held by G Brad Meester (48), followed by TE Kyle Brady (46) and WR Jimmy Smith (39). … Eight players have played in 100 or more games during their careers: DE Marco Coleman (171), CB James Trapp (144), WR Jimmy Smith (134), TE Kyle Brady (124), QB Mark Brunell (119), WR J.J. Stokes (111), DE Hugh Douglas (106) and WR/KR Jermaine Lewis (100). … Coleman leads with 169 career starts, followed by Brady (118), Brunell (114) and Smith (106).