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The stump and '10 things'


It was a cool idea. "Keep choppin' wood," the coach kept saying to his players. So why not bring a piece of wood and an axe into the locker room to drive home the message?

Made a lot of sense; something symbolic. The idea got a lot of media attention and maybe even took some heat off the 0-4 record and the gathering storm at quarterback, briefly.

But there's a major problem with that tree stump sitting in the middle of the Jaguars' locker room, and I think it's the reason the players are chopping at it. You see, it's the stump of an oak tree, and it's made the locker room smell as though a goat threw up in it.

Please, get rid of the log. Get one of those guys named Jorgen from ESPN2 to come in and do some speed-chopping on the thing. Spending 45 minutes in that locker room to do interviews has become the daily equivalent of riding in a car on a hot day with a baby who didn't like his formula.

OK, coach, we get it; keep choppin' wood. The message is perfectly clear. No one will forget it. So, please, if you would, get that piece of wood out of the locker room and have someone sweep up the chunks.

Here's the "10 things the Jaguars have to do to beat the San Diego Chargers:"

  1. Stop the run--I'd almost think I'm obsessing about this, but LaDainian Tomlinson is the second-leading rusher in the AFC and has a 5.2 yards-per-carry average.
  1. Believe me--I can't be obsessing about this because with Sunday's game the Jaguars will have already faced three running backs -- Stephen Davis, Edgerrin James and Tomlinson -- who rushed for more than 1,000 yards combined in September. And Ricky Williams is next.
  1. Win the battle of turnovers--Byron Leftwich committed three interceptions and a fumble last week, and San Diego quarterback Drew Brees has thrown seven picks in four games. The team that commits the fewest turnovers will probably win the game.
  1. Run the ball--The Chargers are 29th in the league against the run.
  1. Sack the quarterback--Jack Del Rio says sacks come in bunches and he's expecting a bunch to come soon. This Sunday would not be too soon.
  1. Back Jack--Del Rio invited a storm of protest and fan dissent with his announcement that Byron Leftwich will be the starting quarterback. A win will quiet the critics; a loss will incite them.
  1. Start anew--The Jaguars were 0-for-September, but this is October and they'll play all of their games this month at Alltel Stadium.
  1. Look around--Alltel Stadium will have a lot of empty seats. You know what fills them.
  1. Don't be afraid of lightning--It's just a logo on a helmet. There haven't been many strikes in recent years.
  1. Just win--Frankly, the schedule doesn't look real promising. When this train leaves the station, the next one may not come along for awhile.
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