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Time to reflect


The Jaguars obviously passed their coach's test and, as a result, earned an extra day off in their bye week and won't practice this week until Thursday. Winning has its privileges.

Jack Del Rio was in a calm and confident mood as he spoke to reporters on Monday, less than 24 hours after his Jaguars had scored a 23-14 win in Denver. It's a win that leaves the Jaguars at 2-1 and a game behind division-leading Indianapolis.

Only two short weeks ago, the Jaguars were coming off a shocking loss to the Titans. Fans were in an uproar, the media was forecasting doom and gloom and Del Rio may have had more concerns than he was willing to admit.

"The sky was falling after week one," he said jokingly on Monday.

Two wins followed and the Jaguars' sky is high and cloudless this week. The team's run-defense moved up eight places on the strength of Sunday's effort in Denver. The running game broke loose for 186 yards and is on the verge of breaking into the league's top 10.

Then there's the play of quarterback David Garrard. It's been, without a doubt, the highlight of the young season to date.

Garrard is one of only three quarterbacks in the league who hasn't thrown an interception. His 103.8 passer rating is seventh-best in the league. He's the league's top-rated third-down passer at 133.9, seventh in the league in fourth-quarter passing (111.4) and the league's leading rusher among quarterbacks with 99 yards.

"David Garrard was especially efficient (Sunday) in making winning plays and leading our football team. The crowd was really rocking and the game was getting a little close. I thought he demonstrated great poise there and one of the big concerns going in was how we would handle the crowd noise," Del Rio said, referring to a critical point in the game in the fourth quarter, after the Broncos had cut the Jaguars' lead to six points.

"What's happening now is David is gaining in confidence. He's always been a playmaker, with his feet and throwing the ball. He's become a little more accurate and certain of where to go with the ball," Del Rio added.

The bye week is traditionally a time of rest and review. The Jaguars have to be careful not to lose their edge because just ahead is a trip to Kansas City, followed by critical division home games against Houston and Indianapolis. The Colts have shown no signs of decline and the Jaguars have no wiggle room if they are to stay in division title contention.

Del Rio faced inevitable questions on Monday about comments Matt Jones' agent made concerning Jones deactivation in Denver. Agent Alan Herman said in a "Florida Times-Union" story that should Jones continue to be deactivated for games, "I want him out of there. I'd like to move him to a place where he has the opportunity to play more."

Asked for a reaction to Herman's remarks, Del Rio said: "My thoughts are that first and foremost my responsibility is to make decisions that are best for this football team. I will continue to do that. We're going to take the best 45 guys into each week. It's always about what's best for the football team. My decisions are based on what's best for the football team."

What's best for the Jaguars is a continuation of the kind of play they displayed in Denver. They got back to their trademark run the ball, stop the run style of play, and Garrard was a model of efficiency.

"We're going to be a physical football team. We pride ourselves in being physical," Del Rio said.

"It's a time to reflect," he added of the bye week, "to acknowledge that a good effort was put forth and we need more."

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