Saturday, August 19, 2000, 8:30 p.m. EDT
Arrowhead Stadium, Kansas City, Mo.
THIS WEEK: Off to a 2-0 start in the preseason for only the second time ever, the Jacksonville Jaguars will try to make it three in a row when they travel to Kansas City for the third of their four preseason games this year. Kickoff for the Jaguars-Chiefs game is 8:30 p.m. EDT Saturday at Arrowhead Stadium.
There is a lot on the line for 20 Jaguars players, as every NFL team has to cut its roster to 65 players by next Tuesday. The Jaguars currently have the maximum number of 85 players on their roster, thus they must release 20 within three days after the game.
Following a decisive victory over the Carolina Panthers in their preseason opener two weeks ago, the Jaguars eked out a win last week over the New York Giants, when free agent rookie Brandon Christenson recovered a Giants' fumble in the endzone with seven seconds remaining. The Jaguars played nearly all of the game without star running back Fred Taylor, who suffered a strained medial collateral ligament on his only carry of the game. Taylor is expected to miss 3-4 weeks.
The two-time defending AFC Central Division champion Jaguars spent the offseason upgrading a team that had the NFL's best regular-season record in 1999 (14-2) but fell one game shy of the Super Bowl. The Jaguars have 33 new players - 11 draft picks, five undrafted rookies, eight veterans and nine new first-year players - on this year's squad.
Jacksonville's 14-2 record during 1999 was the best in franchise history and tied for the fourth most wins in NFL history. They also appeared in their second AFC Championship game in four years. Jacksonville was the only 1998 division winner to win its division in '99, and the Jaguars are one of only two teams to have qualified for postseason play each of the last four seasons (along with Minnesota).
The Jaguars have the best record in the NFL over the last three seasons. Their 36-12 record in that time is two games better than Minnesota and four games better than Denver and Green Bay. The Jaguars also have a 28-4 home record over the last four seasons, tied with Green Bay for the best mark in the NFL. And their 17-9 road record in the last three-plus seasons is also the best in the NFL.
The Jaguars allowed the fewest points in the NFL in 1999 (217) and had the No. 4-ranked defense. The Jacksonville offense led the league in rushing, ranked seventh overall and scored a team-record 396 points (sixth in the league). Jacksonville and St. Louis were the only teams whose offense and defense both ranked in the top 10 in the league.
TELEVISION BROADCAST: The Jaguars-Chiefs game will be televised locally by WTLV Channel 12, with Dan Hicken calling the play-by-play, former Jaguars defensive end Jeff Lageman adding analysis, and Jeff Prosser as the field reporter. It will be the second year of preseason games for the Hicken-Lageman-Prosser team.
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. Jennifer Candelino serves as field reporter for the preseason games. Sexton and Robinson are in their sixth season together. Robinson, Candelino, 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 18 affiliates in three states on the Jaguars Radio Network will also broadcast the game.
THE OPPONENT: The Chiefs were an original member of the AFL, beginning play in 1960 as the Dallas Texans. Owned by Lamar Hunt, the founder of the AFL, the team won the 1962 AFL Championship, then moved to Kansas City in 1963. They won the 1966 AFL title and played in the first Super Bowl, and they won their first Super Bowl in 1969, defeating Minnesota. The Chiefs finished out of the playoffs for 14 straight seasons from 1972 to '85, but they qualified for postseason play every year from 1990-'95. In 1996, the Chiefs finished 9-7 and lost out on a playoff tiebreaker to the Jaguars. In 1999, Kansas City finished 9-7 and tied for first place in the AFC West with the Seattle Seahawks, however, Seattle won the tiebreaker and the Chiefs missed the playoffs for the second straight season.
THE SERIES: The Jaguars and Chiefs have played twice in the regular season, with Jacksonville holding a 2-0 lead in the series, with both games being played at ALLTEL Stadium. The Jaguars won 24-10 on November 9, 1997, and they won again 21-16 on September 13, 1998. In the preseason, the two teams have met twice, with Kansas City winning at home 22-21 in 1998, and Jacksonville winning at ALLTEL Stadium 31-6 last year.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars defeated the Kansas City Chiefs 31-6 on August 26, 1999 at ALLTEL Stadium behind a relentless defense and an opportunistic offense that rolled up 202 yards on the ground. A gambling, blitzing defense made six sacks and kept the Chiefs from scoring until 2:38 remained in the game. Jacksonville jumped out to a 24-0 halftime lead, piling up 239 yards on offense to Kansas City's 79 yards at the break. Fred Taylor scored on runs of 16 and 86 yards, Mark Brunell threw an eight-yard TD pass to Kyle Brady and Mike Hollis added a 50-yard field goal. In the second half, Chris Howard scored on a one-yard run to close out Jacksonville's scoring. Taylor left the game in the first half with seven carries for 105 yards.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE CHIEFS WOULD: Give them a 3-0 record in the 2000 preseason, a 16-8 preseason record in six seasons and a 2-1 record vs. the Chiefs in the preseason.
INJURY UPDATE: Running back Fred Taylor suffered a strained medial collateral ligament in last week's game and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks. … Twelve players missed the game against the Giants because of injuries: OT Tony Boselli (knee) is rehabbing his Jan. 3, 2000 ACL injury but says he will be back for the season opener. … OT Leon Searcy tore the quadriceps tendon in his right leg on July 24 and underwent surgery on July 27. His status has not yet been determined, but he said he hopes to be back in three months. … OT Zach Wiegert (hyperextended elbow) should be back this week. … C John Wade (stress fracture in his right foot) should be back in late August. … S Carnell Lake has been rehabbing his foot injury … P Bryan Barker sprained his right ankle on July 27 and should be back soon … FB Daimon Shelton underwent an operation to repair a broken finger on July 27 and is out indefinitely … DE Eric Curry (knee) is still rehabbing from a 1999 ACL injury … DE Joel Smeenge suffered a strained left calf in the Carolina game and is out indefinitely … Also injured are: OT Joe Chustz (back), S Blaine McElmurry (hernia), G/OT Steve Ingram (hamstring) and TE Jerry Ross (knee).
THE COACHES: Jacksonville head coach Tom Coughlin (49-31 in regular season, 4-4 in postseason) has led the Jaguars to two consecutive AFC Central Division championships and two appearances in the AFC Championship game. The Jaguars have made the playoffs each of the last four seasons - 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).
Coming off a disappointing 1998 season, rookie head coach Gunther Cunningham led the Chiefs to a 9-7 record in 1999, the best record of any first-year coach in club history. Cunningham took over as head coach after spending the previous four seasons as the Chiefs' defensive coordinator (1995-98). Since his arrival, Kansas City has led the league in scoring defense, permitting an average of 17.8 points per game. His Chiefs' defensive units had 127 takeaways and scored 77 points on 10 touchdowns and 4 safeties. Cunningham was a linebacker and kicker for the University of Oregon from 1966 to '68. He began coaching as an assistant for the Ducks (1969-1971) before moving to Arkansas (1972), Stanford (1973-76), and California (1977-1980). Prior to joining the Kansas City coaching staff, Cunningham spent four seasons with the Raiders (1991-94) as linebackers coach his first season, defensive coordinator for two years and then defensive line coach for a year. Cunningham also spent six seasons as defensive line coach for the San Diego Chargers (1985-1990). He began his NFL career as defensive line coach with the Baltimore Colts in 1982.
JACKSONVILLE-KANSAS CITY CONNECTIONS: Jaguars special teams coordinator Frank Gansz was head coach of the Chiefs for the 1987 and '88 seasons … Jaguars P Bryan Barker kicked for the Chiefs from 1990 to '93 ... Chiefs DE Lamanzer Williams was a sixth-round draft pick of the Jaguars in 1998 ... Chiefs WR Andre Rison played 10 games for the Jaguars in 1996, catching 34 passes for 458 yards and two touchdowns … Jaguars offensive quality control coach Garrick McGee was born in Kansas City ... Jaguars strength and conditioning coach Jerry Palmeiri and assistant strength coach Greg Finnegan both worked with Kansas State's strength and conditioning program ... Chiefs strength and conditioning coach Jeff Hurd was the Jaguars' assistant strength and conditioning coach from 1995 to '97 … Jaguars partner Deron Cherry is one of the most popular players in Chiefs history. From 1981 to '91 he was one of the top free safeties in the NFL. Cherry, who had 50 career interceptions, was inducted into the Chiefs' Hall of Fame in 1995 ... Jaguars defensive coordinator Dom Capers and DL coach John Pease coached for the Philadelphia/Baltimore Stars when Chiefs' president Carl Peterson was the team's president/general manager ... Jaguars G Jason Gamble is from Derby, Kan. and Jaguars TE Jerry Ross is from Pittsburg, Kan. ... Seven Chiefs have ties to the state of Florida: FB Donnell Bennett (Ft. Lauderdale, University of Miami), DE John Browning (Miami), DE Mark Word (Miami), LB William Bartee (Daytona Beach), G Jeff Blackshear (Fort Pierce), DT Kevin Sluder (Pensacola), and WR Germaine Stringer (who played with Jaguars C Eric Thomas and DT Larry Smith at Florida State) … Jaguars OT Leon Searcy played at the University of Miami with Chiefs FB Donnell Bennett … Jaguars WR James Battle and Chiefs LB Jonathan Jackson played together at Oregon State ... Chiefs LB Gary Stills and Jaguars DT Kevin Landolt were teammates at West Virginia ... Jaguars FB Trevor Bollers and WR Damon Gibson played with Chiefs P Nick Gallery at Iowa ... Chiefs WR Larry Parker and Jaguars R. Jay Soward were teammates at Southern California ... Jaguars LB Brant Boyer and TE Rich Griffith played with Chiefs DE Ty Parten at Arizona ... Jaguars TE Kyle Brady played with Chiefs TE Troy Drayton at Penn State ... Jaguars RB Leroy Collins and Chiefs RB Frank Moreau were teammates at Louisville ... Chiefs S Percy King and G Rob Murphy played with Jaguars G Eric Moss and LB Matt Finkes at Ohio State ... Chiefs LB Tim Terry played with Jaguars FB Stacey Mack at Temple ... Jaguars DE Rob Meier and Chiefs CB Ray Jackson played together at Washington State ... Jaguars DE David Richie played with Chiefs RB Rashaan Shehee at Washington ... Chiefs S Greg Wesley and Jaguars QB Roderick Robinson were teammates at Arkansas-Pine Bluff ... Jaguars LB Erik Storz and Chiefs OT Darnell Alford and RB Mike Cloud were teammates at Boston College ... Jaguars DT Gary Walker and Chiefs OT Victor Riley and FB Tony Richardson were teammates at Auburn ... Jaguars OT/G Zach Wiegert played with Chiefs G Brenden Stai and C Aaron Graham at Nebraska ... Jaguars CB Aaron Beasley and DB Mike Logan were teammates at the University of West Virginia with Chiefs DE John Browning … Jaguars C Quentin Neujahr was a teammate of Chiefs WR Kevin Lockett at Kansas State.
TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE: The Jaguars conclude their 2000 training camp on Monday and then return to their regular-season schedule.
LAST WEEK: Although it was just a preseason game, the finish of the Jaguars-Giants game last Friday is one that will be remembered for quite some time. The Jaguars defeated the Giants 16-13 after rookie free agent Brandon Christenson recovered a fumble in the end zone with seven seconds remaining. With New York leading 13-9 and the Jaguars unable to penetrate the end zone all game, quarterback Jonathan Quinn frantically led Jacksonville in the final two minutes of play. On second down from the 22-yard line, Quinn's pass toward the end zone was intercepted by New York's Fred Lewis. As Lewis stepped out of the end zone, Giants linebacker Jack Golden tried forcing him back for a touchback. However, Golden knocked the ball away and Christenson, a fourth-string tight end, fell on it for the winning touchdown.
Thus it was an odd sort of victory for the Jaguars, who gained only 230 yards in the game, just 43 on them on the ground, and converted just 4 of 16 third downs. Quarterback Mark Brunell and the starters played into the second quarters but managed only one field goal, after New York took a 10-0 lead against the Jaguars' No. 1 defense. Jamie Martin took over at quarterback in the second period, before giving way to Quinn in the second half. All three quarterbacks led the team to a field goal each, as Mike Hollis was 3 for 4 for the game (his first attempt in the first quarter was wide left).
NOTES FROM THE GIANTS GAME: The Jaguars had fewer first downs (16 to 17), fewer total yards (230 to 354) and less time of possession (27:43 to 32:17). … The Jaguars converted just 4 of 16 third downs (25 percent), while the Giants converted 6 of 14 (43 percent). … The Jaguars had only one sack and allowed five sacks, though they fared better in turnovers, getting four and giving up the ball just twice. … Stacey Mack led the team in rushing with 20 yards on 10 carries, and Chris Howard was the leading receiver with four catches for 26 yards. … Mark Brunell completed 6 of 9 attempts for 67 yards, Jamie Martin was 5 of 6 for 43 yards and Jonathan Quinn was 8 of 23 for 94 yards and an interception … CB Michael Swift and S Erik Olson came up with interceptions, and CB Kiwaukee Thomas and Brandon Christenson had fumble recoveries. … MLB T.J. Slaughter led the team with 13 tackles (four solo), followed by LB Danny Clark with eight tackles (three solo) … Steve Lindsey punted six times for a 37.0-yard average, with two inside the 20s, rebounding nicely after a 13-yarder off the side of his foot on his first kick. … QB Roderick Robinson and RB Leroy Collins dressed but did not play … Jaguars captains were LB Lonnie Marts and WRs Alvis Whitted and Keenan McCardell.
FROM COACH TOM COUGHLIN ON THE GIANTS GAME: "We didn't play well. I didn't like what happened. The Giants moved the ball on us, and they had a lot of yards. We didn't play the defense we are capable of playing and obviously, we
didn't play the kind of offense. As far as game management, we wasted two timeouts. We did get the one outstanding turnover on the punt which should have been the difference in the ballgame, but we didn't get it in the endzone from the five-yard line. We also fumbled a punt back and I'm seeing that happen too many times. But we hung in there. We kept trying, we kept working and Brandon Christenson made a play and we won the game. It is always nice to win, but it doesn't overshadow the problems you have."
"The good thing about this game is that we kept on playing. It certainly isn't the way you would draw it up, but again I give credit to Brandon Christenson for being the right man, at the right spot, at the right time. I wasn't pleased with the way we played. The big running backs seemed to do well against us when the Giants tried to run the football."
(on the Jaguars' backup quarterbacks) "I thought there were some opportunities there. I thought both guys had some chances. We had pressure (on them), no doubt about it, but I'm still looking for more (production). I'm looking for this situation to shake itself out, and I don't think that took place tonight. We will keep working at it and see what happens."
FROM RB STACEY MACK: "It seemed like tonight was a step backwards. We scored 34 points last week and came out here tonight and couldn't get the ball in the end zone."
FROM TE BRANDON CHRISTENSON: (on recovering the game winning fumble in the end zone) "When the ball came out, my eyes got real big and I just fell on it. I was just in the right place at the right time. I couldn't believe it happened."
FROM QB JONATHAN QUINN: "The most important thing is that we won. At the end of the year, you look at the win-lost column and even though it is the preseason it still matters to us. As an offense, I felt we should have and could have produced more. A lot of that is up to the quarterback, and in the second half I take a lot of the blame for it."
FROM LB BRANT BOYER: "There are certainly a lot of things we can do better. I don't think any guy in here will say he did a real good job and there is a lot of room for improvement. As far as the younger players, any time you can get some experience like that, it really helps. It's going to help them during the regular season."
NEXT WEEK: The Jaguars will play their final preseason game of the year when they host the Atlanta Falcons at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, August 24 at ALLTEL Stadium. It will be the second time that the two teams have played in the preseason, with the Jaguars winning 26-17 at home in 1997.
NEW FACES: Here's a quick look at the Jaguars' seven new veteran players who are on the 2000 training camp roster:
LB Matt Finkes - A second-year player who is the No. 3 middle linebacker, Finkes joined the Jaguars on June 29. A sixth-round pick of the Carolina Panthers in 1997 he spent the entire year with the New York Jets, playing in eight games. In '98, Finkes was out of football after being waived by the Jets, and in '99, he was waived by Washington.
G Jason Gamble- Gamble spent his entire 1999 rookie season on the Titans' injured reserve list with a knee injury and fractured shin suffered during training camp. He is working at right guard in training camp. Gamble was a two-year starter at Clemson.
WR Damon Gibson - As a rookie free agent with Cincinnati in 1998, Gibson caught 19 passes, returned kickoffs and punts and scored four touchdowns. He was selected by Cleveland in the 1999 expansion draft but was waived three weeks into the season and spent the rest of the year out of football. With the Jaguars, he is working both as a receiver and a kick returner.
QB Jamie Martin - One of only seven players who have started games at quarterback for the Jaguars, Martin was re-signed as an unrestricted free agent in the spring. He is competing with Jonathan Quinn for the No. 2 spot at quarterback. Last year, Martin was a backup in Cleveland. He started one game for Jacksonville in 1998 and came off the bench to relieve an injured Mark Brunell in a victory over Detroit.
MLB Hardy Nickerson - A 14-year veteran who has played in five Pro Bowls, Nickerson was the Jaguars' big signing in free agency in the offseason, coming over from Tampa Bay. He'll man the middle linebacker position. Nickerson has played and started more NFL games than any player on the Jaguars.
DL David Richie - A third-year player who played in two games with the Denver Broncos in 1997 and eight games with the San Francisco 49ers in '98, Richie was cut by the 49ers in the 1999 training camp. His career statistics include two tackles and half a sack. He is competing at defensive tackle behind Gary Walker and Larry Smith.
CB Michael Swift - Swift is a three-year veteran who spent 1997 with the San Diego Chargers and 1998 and '99 with the Carolina Panthers. He played in 15 games last year before being placed on injured reserve before the final game of the season because of a fractured right fibula. He made 24 tackles on defense and 11 tackles on special teams in 1999. He served as the nickel back in the preseason opener, and had an interception in the second game.
2000 POSITION ANALYSIS: Here is a position-by-position breakdown of the Jaguars:
Quarterbacks (4) - Mark Brunell is back for his sixth season with the Jaguars. In 1999, he passed for 3,060 yards and 14 touchdowns, with only nine interceptions, in leading the Jaguars to 13 wins in 15 starts. In five years in Jacksonville, he has thrown for 15,477 yards and a 44-24 record. Although Brunell hasn't started a full season since 1996, he tied for the third-most starts among NFL quarterbacks over the last three seasons. Vying for the No. 2 job are third-year pro Jonathan Quinn and Jamie Martin, who was with the Jaguars in 1998. Quinn started two games in 1998, his rookie season, but did not play during the '99 regular season (he did play in the Divisional playoff game vs. Miami). Martin re-joined the Jaguars after a season in Cleveland. The three of them have combined for 79 of the 88 starts in franchise history (including playoff games). The fourth quarterback on the roster is Roderick Robinson, a raw passer from Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
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. However, Taylor suffered a strained left MCL against the New York Giants and is expected to miss 3-4 weeks. In 1999, his second year, Taylor missed six full games and parts of several others, mainly because of a recurring hamstring injury. Still, he rushed for 732 yards on 159 carries, matching the 4.6-yard average of his rookie year. He also scored six touchdowns. Battling for the backup role are Stacey Mack and Chris Howard. Mack, a second-year pro out of Temple who was the only undrafted rookie to make the Jaguars in 1999, carried the ball only seven times for 40 yards as a rookie. Howard, who has been in Jacksonville for two years, has rushed 20 times for 71 yards (he carried 15 more times in the 1999 playoffs). Daimon Shelton will be back as the starting fullback for the third season. He paved the way for the NFL's No. 1-ranked rushing offense in 1999, and he's proven to be an adept pass receiver, too. However, he's now sidelined with a broken finger, with Trevor Bollers filling in. Shyrone Stith was drafted in the seventh round out of Virginia Tech and is competing with three others for a possible roster spot.
Wide Receivers (9) - Jimmy Smith, who has caught the second-most passes (359) for the most yards (5,386) over the last four seasons, will start alongside Keenan McCardell, who has caught 312 balls for 4,076 yards in that time. In 1999, Smith led the NFL with 116 receptions, the sixth most ever in a season, and he had nine 100-yard games in making the Pro Bowl for the third consecutive year. McCardell is a solid possession receiver who led the team in receiving in 1996 and '97. R. Jay Soward was chosen in the first round of this year's draft and is the favorite to be the No. 3 wideout. A speedster who ranked third on Southern Cal's career list with 168 receptions, Soward can also return punts and kickoffs. He scored 32 touchdowns four different ways in college. Reggie Barlow is also competing for the No. 3 role. Last year he caught 11 passes and was the team's top punt and kickoff returner. He is the league's only player who has scored on a kick return each of the last three years. Rounding out the competition are Alvis Whitted, Lenzie Jackson, sixth-round pick Emanuel Smith, Damon Gibson and James Battle.
Tight Ends (5) - Kyle Brady and Damon Jones, the top two tight ends, both set career highs for receptions and yards last year. They also form one of the league's best blocking tandems at the position. Brady caught 32 passes for 346 yards and one TD, and Jones caught 19 balls for 221 yards and four TDs. The third tight end is expected to be veteran Rich Griffith, who is also the team's long snapper.
Offensive Line (16) - The biggest changes on offense are on the offensive line. Currently, nobody is starting where he finished the 1999 season. Tony Boselli is rehabbing an injured ACL and will be out until late in the preseason. He has said he'll return in time for the regular-season opener. Steve Ingram, who saw playing time at both guard and tackle in 1999, and Todd Fordham, who missed all of 1999 with a torn ACL, are manning the left tackle spot until Boselli's return. Rookie Brad Meester, a second-round pick out of Northern Iowa who played center in college, has taken over at left guard. John Wade has started the Jaguars' last 20 games (including playoffs), but he has a stress fracture and will be out until late August. He has been replaced by veteran Quentin Neujahr, who started all 16 regular-season games in 1998. Right guard is more up for grabs, because Zach Wiegert, who started 12 games there in 1999, has been switched to right tackle following Leon Searcy's injury. David Kempfert, who spent all of 1999 on the Jaguars' practice squad, and Anthony Cesario, a third-round pick in '99, are the leading contenders for now. Wiegert will play right tackle until Searcy's return, although Searcy's status has not yet been determined. Wiegert started all 16 games at right tackle for the Rams in 1996, so he isn't new to the position (he played more than four quarters of 1999 at right tackle, too). Because of all the injuries, backups have been thrust into the lineup. Rookies Joe Chustz and Mark Baniewicz are competing for backup positions at offensive tackle.
Defensive Line (15) - The Jaguars tied for the NFL lead with 57 sacks in 1999, with 34.5 of them coming from the linemen. But the D-line is also equally formidable against the run. In 1999, the Jaguars allowed only six rushing touchdowns, and they ranked fourth vs. the run. The star of the line is Tony Brackens, who was voted to his first Pro Bowl in 1999. Brackens missed the first two weeks of training camp because of a holdout, but he signed a one-year tender offer on August 11 and returned to practice two days later. He had a team-record 12 sacks in 1999. Renaldo Wynn starts at left end, and he has started 33 of 43 games played in three years in Jacksonville. He plays mainly on the strong side. The top reserve at defensive end is Joel Smeenge, who trails only Brackens on the team's career sack list, has started 46 games in five seasons with the Jaguars and he's never had fewer than four sacks in a season. Gary Walker and Seth Payne start on the inside. Walker was a big surprise in 1999, his first year in Jacksonville, when he turned in a career-high 10 sacks from the interior of the line, ranking fourth among the NFL's defensive tackles. Payne started all 16 games for the first time in his career and is now completely healthy from a 1998 shoulder injury that still hampered him in 1999. Larry Smith and Emarlos Leroy are the primary backups at tackle, and on the outside there's a battle between Eric Curry (a former first-round draft choice who missed most of '99 with a knee injury), rookie Rob Meier, Rahmaan Streater and Mike Sutton.
Linebackers (11) - Kevin Hardy developed into an All-Pro outside linebacker in his fourth season, and even more is expected of him in '00. Hardy led the team in tackles for the second straight season and had a career-high 10.5 sacks. Hardy Nickerson takes over at middle linebacker, and the former Steeler and Buccaneer solidifies the position for the Jaguars for the first time ever. A five-time Pro Bowler, Nickerson can go sideline to sideline, cover tight ends downfield or run with backs out of the backfield. He averages more than 100 tackles in each of his 14 NFL seasons. With the addition of Nickerson, Lonnie Marts moves to strongside linebacker, where he is more suited. In 1999, he started two games on the strong side and 14 at middle linebacker, finishing third on the Jaguars in tackles. (In fact, all three Jaguars linebackers had more than 100 tackles in 1999.) The top backup is Brant Boyer, who is an original Jaguar and plays primarily in short-yardage and goal-line situations (he's also a top special teams player). Competing for a reserve role on the strong side are Corey Terry, Erik Storz and Brandon Southward. Third-round draft pick T.J. Slaughter will back up Nickerson in the middle and play on special teams, and seventh-rounder Danny Clark is working on the weak side.
Defensive Backs (14) - In 1999, the Jaguars' pass defense improved from 23rd to third, CB Aaron Beasley set a team record with six interceptions (two for touchdowns), safety Carnell Lake became the first Jaguars defensive back to be voted to the Pro Bowl, cornerback Fernando Bryant made nearly every All-Rookie team, and strong safety Donovin Darius was named second-team All-Pro. And all four players are back in 2000, giving the team one of the best secondaries in the league. Bryant will only get better in his second season, and Lake will be healthy by the start of the regular season after undergoing a foot operation which hampered him throughout all of 1999. The secondary accounted for 15 interceptions last year, more than the entire Jaguars team had ever had in a season. There's depth, too, in cornerbacks Jason Craft (fifth-round choice in 1999), Kiwaukee Thomas (fifth-rounder this year), Corey Chamblin and Michael Swift. Backing up at safety are Mike Logan (who started 1999 as the nickel back before suffering an ankle injury in the second game), Blaine McElmurry (who tied for the NFL Europe League lead with five interceptions this year, though he will miss at least a month because of a hernia) and Rayna Stewart (who's starting in place of the rehabbing Lake for now).
Kickers (3) - Mike Hollis and Bryan Barker have done all of the kicking for the Jaguars in the first five seasons, and that shouldn't change in 2000. Hollis has scored 576 points in five years, with four consecutive seasons of 100 or more points. He is also the second-most-accurate field goal kicker in NFL history, with an 81.60 percentage, just seven-hundredths of a point behind San Diego's John Carney. Barker suffered a sprained ankle on July 27 and is out indefinitely. In 1999, he set a team record with 32 kicks inside the 20 in what he considers the finest season of his career. As a Jaguar, he averages 43.8 yards per punt, with a net of 37.7. Steve Lindsey will handle the punting until Barker returns. In his first season with the Jaguars handling the kickoff duties in 1999, Lindsey led the NFL with 22 touchbacks and helped the team improve its kickoff coverage from 13th in the AFC in 1998 to second in '99.
WHERE THEY'RE FROM: The 85 players on the Jaguars' current training camp roster were born in 29 different states and the District of Columbia, as well as two foreign countries. California leads the way with 12 Jaguars.
Here's where the 2000 Jaguars were born: 12 - California; 7 - Georgia; 5 - Colorado, Texas, 4 - Florida, Louisiana; 3 - Maryland, New York, Alabama, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Illinois, New Jersey; 2 - Ohio, Mississippi, Nebraska, Utah, Washington D.C., Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia; 1 - Iowa, Oklahoma, Massachusetts, Arkansas, Indiana, Idaho, Montana, Kansas, West Virginia.
The two Jaguars who were born in a foreign country are FB Trevor Bollers (Georgetown, Guyana) and DE Rob Meier (Vancouver, British Columbia).