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Was that the new Jaguars?


That was not the Jacksonville Jaguars you saw last Sunday against the Redskins. At least, that's not the Jaguars we had come to know through the first three years-plus with Jack Del Rio as the team's head coach.

The Jaguars lost to the Redskins in overtime, 36-30, in an offensive shootout that was anything but Jaguars-like. What's Jaguars-like? How about 9-0 over the Steelers? Yeah, that's Jaguars-like.

So, was last week's game a one-week aberration, or did we see the birth of the new Jaguars?

"Offensively, hopefully, we can keep that as our personality. Defensively, we know that's not our personality," quarterback Byron Leftwich said.

Del Rio wants a quick return to the Jaguars' former ways on defense. Having allowed 481 yards to the Redskins, the most allowed by the Jaguars since three seasons before Del Rio was hired as coach, the Jaguars defense fell from number three in the league to 14th. Ouch!

There weren't many defensive players in the Jaguars locker room offering themselves for media interviews this week. That's how hard their performance in Washington stung them.

As a result, the Jaguars are likely to be determined to make a statement on defense against Chad Pennington and the Jets on Sunday. The Jets are 14th-ranked offensively, but have the ninth-ranked passing game and the league's fourth-ranked passer, Pennington, who's rebounded after a season lost to shoulder surgery.

What about Leftwich and the Jaguars offense? Are they going to stay in attack mode or turn back to the running game?

"That whole game we stayed in attack mode. That's why we scored 30 points," Leftwich said. "I would love to drop back and throw the ball 40 times. You would love to do that. Let's be honest."

The Jaguars were forced into a pass-happy attack last Sunday by a Redskins defensive strategy that crowded the line of scrimmage with run-defenders. It was expected the Redskins would do that, after seeing the Jaguars rush for 191 yards the previous week against the Colts.

"There wasn't anywhere to go. They said we're going to make you beat us with the pass," running back Fred Taylor said.

The Jaguars rushed for a mere 33 yards. Neither Taylor nor rookie Maurice Jones-Drew had any luck running the ball.

Taylor expects that to change against the Jets, who are 25th against the run and probably more inclined to load up against the pass after seeing the number of big plays Leftwich produced against the Redskins.

"We're definitely going to commit (to the run) this week. We've regrouped and we're definitely going to run the ball more effectively this week," Taylor said.

Leftwich is OK with either approach.

"It's a team game. We're going to do whatever it takes to be successful. If I throw for 50 yards a week and we win, I'm going to be happy. Winning feels good. There's nothing like it," Leftwich said.

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