Jaguars center Brad Meester is the longest-tenured player on the roster and will tie a franchise record on Sunday at Buffalo. Meester is expected to make his 150th career start, tying former wide receiver Jimmy Smith for the most starts in team history.
Meester, who along with David Garrard are the only players to pre-date head coach Jack Del Rio's arrival in 2003, joined the franchise as a second-round draft pick in 2000. He has started all 16 games seven times and paved the way for 18 of the club's top 20 rushing games in franchise history including the top five.
Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey doesn't have to watch a lot of film to know the featured player in the Jaguars offense is running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
"The hard part with him is he's hard to tackle," Gailey said. "He's so strong and he doesn't look fast, but he is fast. It's a misconception when you see a thick guy that's not very tall and you say, 'well, he's strong and hard to tackle, but he's not fast.' But he is. He catches the ball well out of the backfield and he presents a real problem for us. We're going to have to muster all we've got to stop their running game."
"Yeah, a great running back and a team that has a physical offensive line who wants to establish the run, so we have our work cut out for us for sure, especially after what happened last week," Bills linebacker Paul Posluszny said. "We've got to go into this week knowing that Jacksonville is going to come in here and try to establish the run. We've just got to have the mindset that we're going to come in and be physical, we've got to stop the run."
NFL parity on display
Winning each week in the NFL is not easy and you need to look no further than the first four weeks of the 2010 season for further proof. Of the 28 teams that have played four games, there are no undefeated teams, nine teams with a winning record and 13 teams (including the Jaguars) with a record of 2-2. In five of the past nine seasons, a team that has started 2-2 or worse has advanced to the Super Bowl.
The AFC South is the only division in the NFL with all four teams sitting at .500 or above after four games with the Houston Texans leading the way at 3-1. There are currently 23 teams either in first place or within a game of the top spot in their division, the most such teams in the first four weeks of a season in NFL history.
Focus shifts to Bills
Jaguars defensive end Aaron Kampman is in his ninth NFL season so he has been involved in his share of 'big' wins and bad losses. Kampman and the Jaguars have been on both sides of it through four games with back-to-back 25-point losses followed by a thrilling divisional victory over the Colts.
"I think it was great, it continued to validate the fact that we're moving in the right direction," Kampman said. "We're a team that hasn't accomplished anything yet. That's the reality of it; it was a great win, not to take away from anything, but we've now got an opportunity to grow as a team. I think we handled the failure of the last two weeks well; sometimes the difficult challenge is how you handle success. This week will tell us a lot if we're continuing to grow."
Kampman knows the Jaguars are facing a Bills team that is hungry for its first win.
"I think when anyone has adversity there's obviously two choices," Kampman said. "You continue to fight or you go the opposite way. And I'm sure we'll see their best shot. Like any team that's been struggling if you can get out early, that's an advantage for the team that gets out ahead. That will be the plan as always, we always want to start fast and this week will be no different."
The Bills traded running back Marshawn Lynch to Seattle on Tuesday but rank 16th in the NFL in rushing behind a backfield that includes former Clemson standout C.J. Spiller.
"I think they've got explosive players on offense," Kampman said. "I think that both (C.J.) Spiller and (Fred) Jackson are good players. I think (Ryan) Fitzpatrick has the ability to run the ball, he averages nine yards per carry when he takes off. Lee Evans, if you let him get going, is a good threat."
Garrard among NFL leaders in fourth quarter
David Garrard and the Jaguars offense started their game-winning drive against the Colts last Sunday with 42 seconds remaining and Garrard completed back-to-back passes to Tiquan Underwood for six and 22 yards to set up the game-winning field goal by Josh Scobee.
Garrard ranks third in the NFL through four weeks with a 115.8 passer rating in the fourth quarter with three of his six touchdowns coming in the final quarter.
Even after first quarter
Head coach Jack Del Rio likes to break the regular season down to quarters with four-game increments. The Jaguars are off to a 2-2 start for the third consecutive season and it marks the seventh time in eight seasons under Del Rio the club has been .500 or above after the first four games.
A win on Sunday would give the Jaguars a record over .500 through five games for the fifth time in eight seasons under Del Rio.
Getting the ground game established
The Jaguars have out-rushed their opponents in three of four games this season and rank 12th in the NFL, eighth in the AFC, with a 129.5-yard average. Last Sunday the Jaguars registered a season-high 174 rushing yards on 35 carries for a 5.0 average per rush against the Colts.
Since 2006, the Jaguars are 20-5 when rushing for 150-plus yards with wins in 11 of the last 12 games. The Jaguars are 59-15 under head coach Jack Del Rio when recording 30 or more rushing attempts including wins in nine of the last 10 games.
From the couch to the starting lineup
Safety Gerald Alexander spent the first three weeks of the 2010 regular season watching football games on television, keeping up with the league, but most importantly waiting for a call.
After being released by the Jaguars during final cuts, Alexander received a call on Sept. 28 to return to the team. Not only did he return, he was inserted into the starting lineup last Sunday to replace the injured Sean Considine against the high-powered Colts offense. He finished the game with six tackles and made two game-changing plays.
He made a jarring hit on Colts TE Brody Eldridge at the goal line in the third quarter that resulted in an Anthony Smith interception. On the ensuing Colts possession, he recovered a fumble at the Jaguars 10-yard line and returned it 43 yards.
Red zone target
Jaguars tight end Marcedes Lewis has been a main target for the Jaguars in the red zone, scoring a team-high three touchdowns in the first four games. Lewis is one touchdown from tying the franchise single-season record for touchdowns by a tight end. It has happened four different times by three different players, with the last coming in 2002 by Kyle Brady.
Did you know?
Kirk Morrison has started 83 consecutive games, tied for the second-most in the NFL among linebackers. Washington's London Fletcher has made 155 consecutive starts while Dallas' Bradie James has also started 83 straight games.
The last word
"He&39;s off to a great start. He&39;s maturing as a player, he&39;s always had an incredibly strong leg. He&39;s blessed with that and he came into the league with that but he&39;s worked on becoming more consistent. As I mentioned yesterday, really consciously made a decision not to stretch him out too much early in games. Let&39;s not try that 58-, 59-, 60-yarder early in games, let&39;s save that for when we have to have it at the end. And so we&39;ve made a decision not to do that. Now we still ended up with some longer field goals but not extra-long, not some of the extra-long ones that we know he has the leg for. So there&39;s been an approach that way, a maturing on his part and he&39;s doing the things we need him to do. He&39;s being accurate and being steady."
Head coach Jack Del Rio on kicker Josh Scobee **