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Statistical nightmare


This is midway weekend for the Jaguars, who will attempt to reach the halfway point of their season at 6-2. If they do, it will be one of the most impressive coaching jobs I have ever covered.

Currently, the Jaguars are in a four-way tie for the sixth-best record in the league. So what? I'll tell you what. Show me what else the Jaguars are sixth-best at.

They have the league's fourth-best rushing attack. OK, that's one. They have the league's second-highest rated passer. That's two, and that's also about where it stops.

Look at this team's rankings: 20th in total offense and 15th in total defense. The Jaguars have the league's number 27 pass-offense and number 19 pass-defense. Even the team's run-defense, the team's calling card since 2003, is a lowly 15th.

Where are the numbers to support a 5-2 record? Look at the team's wide receivers.

Dennis Northcutt, a veritable Cleveland castaway, leads the team in receptions with 22 for 308 yards and one touchdown. That means the Jaguars' leading receiver doesn't even appear among the league's top 52 receivers in receptions or the top 50 in receiving yards. Northcutt is tied for 29th in the AFC in receptions and 28th in the AFC in receiving yards.

The Jaguars have a nice 1-2 punch in running backs Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew, but neither one is among the top 20 rushers in the league.

Jones-Drew is tied for 24th in the league in scoring (nonkickers), and John Carney is 28th in the league in scoring for kickers.

I'm tellin' you, there's almost nothing for Jaguars fans to their hang their hat on statistically; not yards from scrimmage, first downs, interceptions or even punting. Paul Spicer's five sacks are tied for 16th in the league, and that's about it.

Of the league's 17 premier team statistical categories, the Jaguars are 16th or lower in 11 categories on offense, and 16th or lower in seven categories on defense.

Jacksonville is one of only two teams in the AFC and five in the league that hasn't had a 100-yard receiver, and they've produced a 100-yard rusher in only one game. Imagine that. This is 2007, 29 years after the league announced rules that would turn the game into basketball on grass.

Simply put, the '07 Jaguars, through seven games, are a statistical nightmare, which can only mean one thing: Jack Del Rio and his coaching staff are doing more with less.

This is the best coaching job I've witnessed since Tom Coughlin found a way in 2002 to win six games and lose five others by three or fewer points, with a roster that was on a talent level with his 1995 inaugural edition.

Here's the crazy part: Three of the Jaguars' five wins this season have come on the road.

Weak schedule, right?

Not really. Only two of their seven opponents are below .500.

Takeaways? That's how they're doing it, right? Their opponents are turning it over.

No, that's not it. The Jaguars are 15th in the league in takeaways.

What we are witnessing is one of the finest examples of over-achieving in recent league history. We are witnessing a coaching masterpiece.

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