JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS vs. NEW YORK GIANTS
Friday, August 11, 2000, 8:00 p.m. EDT
ALLTEL Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla.
THIS WEEK: Following a decisive win in their 2000 preseason opener, the two-time defending AFC Central Division champion Jacksonville Jaguars will host the New York Giants on Friday night in their first home game of the preseason. Kickoff for the nationally televised game is at 8:00 p.m. from ALLTEL Stadium.
The Jaguars soundly defeated the Carolina Panthers 34-14 last Friday night to open the 2000 preseason despite 14 players not seeing any action, including eight starters.
The 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 34 new players - 11 draft picks, five undrafted rookies, nine veterans and nine new first-year players.
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-Giants game will be televised nationally by CBS and locally by WJXT Channel 4, with Greg Gumbel calling the play-by-play, Phil Simms adding analysis, and Armen Keteyian as the field reporter.
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.
TICKET INFORMATION: Tickets are still available for $40, $50, $65 and $90 per ticket. Fans can call 1-888-397-0100 or buy tickets on the Internet at www.jaguars.com
THE OPPONENT: The Giants are the fourth-oldest team in the NFL, having played their first game in 1925. They have won two Super Bowls (1986 and 1990) and four championships, and they played in the NFL title game 11 other times. In 1997, Jim Fassel's first season as head coach, the Giants finished 10-5-1, winning the NFC East for the first time since 1990 and becoming the 15th team in NFL history to finish in first place a year after finishing in last place. Last season the Giants slipped to 7-9 and in third place in the division. They are led by quarterback Kerry Collins and No. 1 draft choice Ron Dayne, the all-time leading rusher in NCAA history.
THE SERIES: This is the fifth preseason meeting in six years between the Jaguars and the Giants, and the two teams have played once in the regular season, with Jacksonville holding a 1-0 edge. The Jaguars defeated the Giants 40-13 in the second game of the 1997 regular season. In preseason, the two teams have each won two games.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars suffered their first loss of the 1999 preseason, 27-20 to the New York Giants on August 21 at Giants Stadium. The Jaguars failed to capitalize on seven turnovers by the Giants, and they were outgained 494 yards to 253. Jacksonville had a chance to tie the score in the final minute of play, but a fourth down pass was incomplete and time ran out. Mark Brunell quarterbacked two series in the first quarter, throwing a two-yard touchdown pass to Kyle Brady. On his other series, the Jaguars drove to New York's 12-yard line before Fred Taylor, playing for the first time in the preseason, fumbled. The Giants jumped to a 24-7 halftime lead behind QB Kent Graham. In the second half, the Giants fumbled on six successive possessions but the Jaguars were able to score only 13 points, seven of them on a 37-yard fumble return by Mike Logan. Mike Hollis kicked his first two field goals of the preseason. The two teams combined for 11 turnovers, with Jacksonville losing the ball four times.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE GIANTS WOULD: Give them a 2-0 record in the 2000 preseason, a 15-8 preseason record in six seasons and a 3-2 record vs. the Giants in the preseason.
INJURY UPDATE: Thirteen players did not travel to the preseason opener at Carolina: 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 soon. … 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 will be out about two weeks … FB Daimon Shelton underwent an operation to repair a broken finger on July 27 and will be out indefinitely … Several players who are rehabbing from 1999 surgeries usually participate in one practice during the two-a-days. They include: CB Fernando Bryant (toe), DE Eric Curry (knee), LB Erik Storz (knee) and G-OT Todd Fordham (knee) … Others injured are: LB Brant Boyer (ankle) and OT Joe Chustz (back). CB Aaron Beasley traveled to Carolina but did not dress because of a finger injury. … The only player who was injured in the game and didn't return was DE Joel Smeenge (strained left calf).
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).
Jim Fassel enters his fourth season as head coach of the Giants, following a 7-9 season in 1999. In his second season, Fassel produced an 8-8 record after a grand debut in 1997, when he led the Giants to a 10-5-1 record and the NFC East title. Fassel spent one season as offensive coordinator of the Arizona Cardinals in 1996, following a year with the Oakland Raiders as quarterbacks coach. Fassel was an assistant with the Giants as quarterbacks coach (1991) and offensive coordinator (1992). He spent two seasons as the assistant head coach/offensive coordinator for Denver (1993-94), as John Elway won NFL Most Valuable Player honors in 1993. He also had groomed Elway at Stanford, where Fassel was the offensive coordinator (1979-1983). He was offensive coordinator for the New Orleans Breakers of the USFL (1984). Fassel was a quarterback for Fullerton (Calif.) College, winning the junior college national championship in 1967. He also played at Southern California and Long Beach State. He was selected by the Chicago Bears in the seventh round of the 1972 NFL draft and played briefly that season with the Bears, Houston, and San Diego. Fassel began coaching at Fullerton College (1973).
JACKSONVILLE-NEW YORK GIANTS CONNECTIONS: Jaguars' head coach Tom Coughlin was born in Waterloo in upstate New York. He was the Giants' receivers coach from 1988 to '90, contributing to the Super Bowl XXV victory over Buffalo in his last season with the Giants. … Two Giants are original Jaguars: TE Pete Mitchell (1995-98) and CB Dave Thomas (1995-99) … Other former Jaguars are: G Mark Nori (1997 and '98), S Tawambi Settles (1998) and FB Ron Janes (1998) … TE Mark Thomas was on Jacksonville's practice squad in 1998, and WR Thabiti Davis and OT Rome Douglas spent past training camps with the Jaguars … Jaguars TE coach Fred Hoaglin was the Giants' offensive line coach from 1985 to '92 … The Jaguars have six players with ties to the New York area: DT Seth Payne (Victor and Cornell), OT Mark Baniewicz (Fairport and Syracuse) LB Erik Storz (Rockaway, N.J.), RB Leroy Collins (Hudson), G Kevin Landolt (Burlington, N.J.) and SS Donovin Darius (Camden, N.J. and Syracuse) … OL coach Mike Maser was born in Clayton, N.Y. … Strength and conditioning coach Jerry Palmieri was born in Englewood, N.J. … The Giants have seven players with ties to the state of Florida: LB Mike Barrow and LB Jessie Armstead (University of Miami, where they were teammates of Jaguars OT Leon Searcy), OT Lomas Brown (Miami), WR Ron Dixon (Wildwood), LB Kevin Lewis (Orlando), CB Dave Thomas (Miami), and WR Ike Hilliard (University of Florida, where he was a teammate of Fred Taylor on Florida's 1996 national championship team) …Jaguars' OT Tony Boselli was a teammate of Giants CB Jason Sehorn at Southern California … WR Alvis Whitted played with Giants DE George Williams at North Carolina State … Jaguars PK Mike Hollis and Giants LB Ryan Phillips where teammates at the University of Idaho … Jaguars G Jason Gamble played with Giants LB O.J. Childress at Clemson ... Jaguars TE Kyle Brady and Giants QB Kerry Collins were teammates at Penn State ... Giants DE Jomo Cousins was a teammate of Jaguars FB Kenneth Williams at Florida A&M ... Jaguars FS Carnell Lake and Giants PK Brad Daluiso were teammates at UCLA ... Giants DT Cornelius Griffin and Jaguars CB Fernando Bryant played together at Alabama ... Giants DT Ryan Hale and Jaguars WR Emanuel Smith played at Arkansas ... Jaguars RB Chris Howard and Giants WR Amani Toomer, CB Andre Weathers and T Chris Ziemann played together at Michigan ... Giants G Scott Kiernan and Jaguars OT Mark Baniewiez and SS Donovin Darius were teammates at Syracuse ... Jaguars LB Matt Finkes and LB Eric Moss were teammates with Giants RB Joe Montgomery at Ohio State ... Jaguars LB Erik Storz and Giants G Mark Nori were teammates at Boston College, and Giants G Ron Stone and Nori played at Boston College under Tom Coughlin. ... Jaguars OT/G Zack Wiegert and Giants DT Christian Peter were teammates at Nebraska ... Jaguars DE Renaldo Wynn played with Giants G Mike Rosenthal, T Luke Petitgout and C Dusty Zeigler at Notre Dame ... Giants DB coach Johnnie Lynn was the LB coach at the University of Arizona when Jaguars LB Brant Boyer and TE Rich Griffith played for the Wildcats.
TRAINING CAMP SCHEDULE: The Jaguars are in their third full week of training camp. Practice times this week are as follows: Monday - 8:40 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.; Tuesday: 8:40 a.m.; Wednesday: 8:40 a.m. and 3:20 p.m.; Thursday: closed walk-through at stadium. Player interviews are from 11:15 to 12:15 on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the Radisson Riverwalk Hotel. Practices are held at Ferrell Practice Fields adjacent to ALLTEL Stadium. Check with the Jaguars' Communications office (633-6000) to schedule interviews.
LAST WEEK: The Jaguars won their 2000 preseason opener 34-14 over the Carolina Panthers at Ericsson Stadium in Charlotte, N.C. Stacey Mack scored two touchdowns - one on a 94-yard kickoff return to open the second half - to lead Jacksonville to its third win over the Panthers in five preseason games. Quarterback Mark Brunell and RB Fred Taylor played only the first series, as the Jaguars marched 80 yards in five plays for a score, culminated in Brunell's 39-yard TD pass to Jimmy Smith.
NOTES FROM THE PANTHERS GAME: The Jaguars had more first downs (18 to 15), more total yards (367 to 323) and more time of possession (30:52 to 29:08). … The Jaguars converted 6 of 14 third downs (43 percent) and held the Panthers to 4 of 13 (31 percent). … Jacksonville had only one turnover and three takeaways, and made three sacks while allowing only one. … Jacksonville scored in every quarter, picking up two touchdowns in the first and third quarters and field goals in the second and fourth quarters. … The Jaguars scored all three times they reached the red zone, coming away with two TDs and one field goal.
Chris Howard led the team in rushing with 32 yards on nine carries, followed by Stacey Mack with 29 yards on eight carries. Fred Taylor had two rushes for 16 yards. … Mark Brunell completed all three of his attempts for 64 yards and one TD. Jonathan Quinn was 6 of 9 for 59 yards, Jamie Martin was 8 of 13 for 93 yards, and newcomer Roderick Robinson hit on 4 of 7 for 52 yards. Nobody was intercepted. … Alvis Whitted led the team with three catches for 31 yards. … Hardy Nickerson had the only interception, while Lonnie Marts and Gary Walker recovered fumbles. … SLB Lonnie Marts led the team with seven tackles (four solo), followed by CB Jason Craft with six tackles (five solo) … Steve Lindsey became the first player other than Bryan Barker to punt in a Jaguars game. He punted six times for a 42.5-yard average, with one touchback, rebounding nicely after a 27-yarder off the side of his foot on his first kick in a game since high school. … Every player who dressed played, but a total of 14 players did not travel or dress (see Injury Update)… Jaguars captains were Ss Donovin Darius and Rayna Stewart and TE Kyle Brady.
FROM COACH TOM COUGHLIN ON THE PANTHERS GAME: "It was a good start. I was pleased with the offensive line. Those young guys played well. They gave us time to throw the ball. We rushed the ball, particularly in the first half. I was pleased with the defense - we rose up and made some plays when we had to. We played everybody, our emphasis was to finish what we started and finish hard in the fourth quarter and I was pleased from that for the first game."
(on some of the backups who started) "(CBs) Jason Craft and Kiwaukee Thomas got a tremendous amount of playing time. The offensive line all played through the first half and some into the second half. David Kempfert played guard and center, Anthony Cesario played right tackle and right guard, Quentin Neujahr stayed in for a long haul, Steve Ingram got a ton of play time, rookie Brad Meester got to play and play a lot. He was a part of the early scoring, and that will help him. The opportunity that they have, if they can take advantage, will make us a stronger ball club because this is a real good opportunity for them to play."
(on Jonathan Quinn's performance) "He did some good things. He had the long drive of the game. He was very focused and made the plays to move the ball down the field. I would give him a strong performance. I just wish the other couple of drives that he was in for that we could have done more with the ball. We would not do much on first down and then had to throw the ball. There were a couple of drives that were thwarted, but he came in and showed good poise, made some plays for us, took us on a long drive and I was pleased with that."
(on R. Jay Soward's performance) "He made one real exciting long play that showed his explosiveness. He didn't have too many more opportunities. He gave too much ground away on punt returns instead of sticking it up in there and taking what he could get. Overall, it was his first time, and I liked to see his explosiveness."
(on Steve Lindsey) "I was very pleased with the way he came in after Bryan Barker's injury. When we first brought him in (last year) we told him he would have to be our backup punter. Barker injured his ankle in camp and I turned around one time and there he was ready to go. They weren't all great punts, but you saw tonight as he grew with confidence, his hang time was particularly good. He did a good job, and that is a huge plus for us."
(on Stacey Mack) "Stacey is a powerful runner, and we know that. He has done that throughout camp. On the kickoff return, I thought he was going to get caught, but then he got a little bit of an advantage and the Carolina player tried to come down on the back of his heals. Stacey is too big a man to trip up that way. I just continue to see ways to utilize not only Stacey but other people in different roles throughout the season. A long punt return or kickoff return is a big plus."
FROM QB MARK BRUNELL: (on the offensive line) "The offensive line did a fine job. They have taken a lot of heat this week about being inexperienced. They were challenged, but they did a great job, not just with pass protection but with the run blocking. I think those guys should be real proud of their effort."
(on the wide receivers) "I have the easy job - I throw the ball up and Jimmy Smith finds a way to run under those things. He and Keenan McCardell are great talents, and it is fun to work with them."
(on Carolina's secondary) "We weren't trying to test them. We were just focused on ourselves, executing and being smart with the football. We wanted to throw the ball, but we wanted to run it as well. We weren't trying to challenge their weakness or anything like that. We didn't game-plan them - we just went out and tried to play some good football. We did that tonight."
FROM MLB HARDY NICKERSON: "It was a little strange, initially, but I just tried to get into the flow of the game. Luckily I was able to contribute before we took the starters out. We have a bunch of good players on defense and I am happy to be here. We have a great offense that can move the ball up and down the field. It was refreshing to see what they did, especially early in the game to go out to a 14-0 lead. I haven't seen that in a long time. I'm just looking to contribute any way I can. Today we wanted to start fast and finish the game strong, and we got that accomplished."
(on Kevin Hardy) "He is just all over the place. He is just a great player. He has to be one of the smartest players I have ever played with, and it is great to line up next to him."
(on the Super Bowl in Tampa Bay) "It would be great to go back there and win a championship there. I don't care who it's against - the Bucs, Redskins, anybody. The thing about this league is you never know who is going to step out. Nobody thought the Rams would win it last year in training camp. We are going to be focused, do our part and do everything we can to get there."
FROM WR R. JAY SOWARD: "I don't really have any set goals. I just want to learn the offense, make sure I'm doing everything right, get a feel for the game and the most important thing - catch everything. When I get into the regular season, I can't have drops."
(on his first NFL game) "I think I played alright. I didn't catch all the balls that were thrown to me, but I played all right. I had fun and it was exciting for me. That is what I wanted to do most, just go out there and have fun."
(on Coughlin's sideline remarks) "He told me to just get up the field. He said I was trying to make too many moves and sometimes you just have to go get the first down, not try to score a touchdown every time. He said that after I came up a yard short on the 3rd-and-10 in the third quarter. If I had just caught it and turned it would have been a first down."
NEXT WEEK: The Jaguars will travel to Kansas City to play the Chiefs on Saturday, August 19 at Arrowhead Stadium. Kickoff will be at 8:30 p.m. EDT. It will be the third straight year that the two teams have played in the preseason, with each team having come away with one victory.
NEW FACES: Here's a quick look at the Jaguars' eight 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.
WR Gunnard Twyner - Twyner played two games each with Cincinnati and New Orleans in 1997, after having spent all of his 1996 rookie season on the Bengals' practice squad. In 1998, he was on the Saints' injured reserve list with a knee injury, and in '99 he was out of football after being waived by New Orleans. He is one of 10 wide receivers in camp.
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. 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 (10) - 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, Gunnard Twyner, 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, is 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. Todd Fordham has been working at both guard and tackle, and 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 is unsigned and holding out of training camp, although he has been designated as the team's franchise player. He had a team-record 12 sacks in 1999. For now, 11-year veteran Joel Smeenge is starting at right end. 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. 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. 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) 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 86 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, Iowa, Washington D.C., Tennessee, Michigan, Virginia; 1 - 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).