** Sunday, December 21, 2003, 1:00 p.m. EST
ALLTEL Stadium, Jacksonville, Fla. **
Television: Regionally on FOX and locally on WAWS Ch. 30 (Ch. 10 cable),
Curt Menefee (play by play) and Tim Green (color analyst)
Radio: WOKV (690 AM) and WKQL (96.9 FM) and the Jaguars Radio Network,
Brian Sexton (play by play), Jeff Lageman (color analyst) and Ryan Elijah (field reporter)
THIS WEEK: The Jacksonville Jaguars will play their final home game of the 2003 season when they host the New Orleans Saints at 1:00 p.m. EST Sunday at ALLTEL Stadium. The Jaguars will be looking for their fourth straight victory at home, which would give them a 5-3 record at ALLTEL Stadium this season and a winning record at home for the first time since 1999.
The Jaguars are coming off a 27-13 loss against the New England Patriots on Sunday in the snow at Gillette Stadium and against the NFL's top team. The Jaguars are now 4-10 this season, their first under new head coach Jack Del Rio.
Even with the loss to the Patriots, the Jaguars have one of the NFL's top defenses. They are ranked No. 6 in total defense and have allowed only 60 points in their last five games — still the lowest total in the NFL in that time — and their fewest allowed in a five-game stretch since 1999. They have also allowed only 1,169 yards in their last five games, an average of 233.8 per game. In addition, Jacksonville's run defense ranks second in the league, the team's best ranking ever after 14 games.
The Saints are 7-7 this season after defeating the New York Giants 45-7 on Sunday night. They are 7-7 and still have a chance to qualify for the playoffs, although Carolina clinched the division title on Sunday. The Saints close out the regular season at home against Dallas.
THE OPPONENT: The Saints were awarded an expansion franchise on November 1, 1966 and began play in 1967. They went 20 seasons before having a better-than-.500 record. Under Jim Mora, the Saints made the playoffs four times and had .500-or-better records seven straight years from 1987 through '93. In 2000, Jim Haslett was named head coach and led the team to a 10-6 record and its first-ever postseason victory in his first season. The Saints finished 7-9 and 9-7 the next two years. This season, they are 7-7 and still in the hunt for a Wild-Card berth.
THE SERIES: This will be only the third meeting between the two teams, with each having one victory. On October 6, 1996, the Saints defeated the Jaguars 17-13 at the Superdome. The Jaguars won at home 41-23 on November 21, 1999.
THE LAST TIME: The Jaguars won their seventh straight game of the season 41-23 over the Saints in a Sunday night game on November 21, 1999 at ALLTEL Stadium. The Jaguars totaled 494 yards on offense, led by Mark Brunell's 351 yards passing and Jimmy Smith's 220 yards on nine receptions. The game was tied 17-17 at halftime, but the Jaguars scored 24 consecutive points to start the second half. James Stewart had two touchdown runs and Smith scored on a 46-yard pass from Brunell to put the game out of reach.
A JAGUARS VICTORY OVER THE SAINTS WOULD: Be their fifth win of the season, giving them a 5-10 record. It would be their fourth straight victory at home and give them a 5-3 record at ALLTEL Stadium this year, their first winning season at home since 1999. That was also the last time they won four consecutive home games in one season. A win would give them a 2-1 record in their series against the Saints.
INJURY UPDATE: There were no major injuries suffered in the Patriots game. The only players who missed the game because of injuries were TE George Wrighster (hamstring), CB Jason Craft (knee) and RB Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala (knee). The status of all injured players will be updated on Wednesday.
THE COACHES: Jack Del Rio was named Jaguars head coach on January 17, 2003, becoming the second head coach in Jaguars' history. At 40, Del Rio is the second youngest head coach in the NFL (four months older than Jon Gruden). Del Rio spent 11 years as an NFL linebacker and had a standout college career at the University of Southern California. He previously coached in New Orleans (1997-98), Baltimore (1999-2001), and Carolina (2002). He was the Panthers' defensive coordinator, and in his only season with the club the defense improved from 31st in the NFL to second, the biggest one season defensive improvement in NFL history. Del Rio was the linebackers coach for three seasons in Baltimore, where the Ravens' defense also ranked second each season. He helped the team win Super Bowl XXXV over the New York Giants and coached the Ravens' talented linebackers, overseeing the development of Peter Boulware, Jamie Sharper and Ray Lewis, the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in 2000 and the MVP of Super Bowl XXXV. Prior to coaching, Del Rio played 11 seasons in the NFL, with New Orleans (1985-86), Kansas City (1987-88), Dallas (1989-1991) and Minnesota (1992-95), playing in the Pro Bowl following the 1994 season. Del Rio was a starter at linebacker for Southern California (1981-84), where he earned All-America honors, was a runner-up for the Lombardi Award and co-MVP of the 1985 Rose Bowl. Del Rio has learned from some of the best coaches in all of football. He was recruited to USC and played for John Robinson, and in the NFL he played under Bum Phillips, Jim Mora, Jimmy Johnson and Dennis Green. As an assistant coach, he has worked for Hall of Famer Mike Ditka and Super Bowl winner Brian Billick, as well as John Fox. Drafted by baseball's Toronto Blue Jays, Del Rio batted .340 while playing catcher on USC's baseball team in 1983 and 1984 with future stars Randy Johnson and Mark McGwire. He was a third-round choice by the New Orleans Saints in 1985 and was named to the NFL's All-Rookie team. Jim Haslett is in his fourth season as coach and has a 34-30 regular-season record, the second-most victories in Saints history. In his first season (2000), Haslett claimed Coach of the Year honors, as the Saints won the NFC West title and claimed the first playoff victory in franchise history. Prior to becoming head coach of the Saints, Haslett spent three seasons (1997-99) as the Steelers' defensive coordinator. The Steelers ranked among the league's best defenses during his tenure. Haslett served as defensive coordinator for the Saints (1996) after coaching linebackers for the Saints (1995) and Los Angeles Raiders (1993-94). Haslett also served as defensive coordinator for the World League of American Football's Sacramento Surge (1992). Haslett was a second-round draft choice of the Buffalo Bills in 1979, when he was named to the All-Rookie team and won Associated Press Defensive Rookie of the Year honors. He played nine NFL seasons, eight with Buffalo and one with the New York Jets. He was a four-time All-America defensive end at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (1975-78). He began his coaching career at the University of Buffalo (1988-1990).
JACKSONVILLE-NEW ORLEANS CONNECTIONS: Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio is a former Saints linebacker (1985-1986). He also began his coaching career in New Orleans, as the assistant strength coach in 1997 and LB coach in 1998. … Two Jaguars are former Saints: G Chris Naeole (1997-2001) and P Mark Royals (1997-1998). … Jaguars OL coach Paul Boudreau held the same position with the Saints from 1987 to '93. … Jaguars director of pro personnel Charles Bailey was the Saints' assistant general manager from 1999 to 2001 and was with the team until coming to Jacksonville this year … Saints director of player personnel Rick Mueller was the Jaguars' director of college scouting from 1998 to 1999 and a college scout from 1995 to '97. … Saints assistant strength and conditioning coach Jerry Palmieri was the Jaguars' strength and conditioning coach from 1995 to 2002. … Saints secondary coach Joe Baker served as an assistant special teams coach with the Jaguars from 1995 to '98 … Saints defensive assistant/quality control coach Ty Knott was an offensive assistant for the Jaguars in 2002 … Jaguars DB coach Alvin Reynolds shared sidelines with Saints QB coach Mike Sheppard with the Baltimore Ravens in 1996. … Saints WR coach Hubbard Alexander coached with the Dallas Cowboys the same time Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio, special teams coordinator Bill Bates, TE coach Alfredo Roberts and WR Jimmy Smith played for the Cowboys. … Saints director of player development Ricky Porter served on the Denver Broncos coaching staff as an offensive assistant the same time Jaguars RB coach Anthony Lynn played for the Broncos. … Saints strength and conditioniong coach Rock Gullickson coached DE Tony Brackens at Texas. … Saints LB coach Winston Moss played at Miami with Jaguars TE coach Alfredo Roberts. ...Seven Jaguar have ties to Louisiana: vice president of player personnel James Harris (Monroe, Grambling), scout Larry Wright (Louisiana Tech), WR Cortez Hankton (New Orleans, St. Augustine High), DE Lionel Barnes (Lousiana-Monroe), WR Troy Edwards (Shreveport, Louisiana Tech), RB LaBrandon Toefield (Independence, Louisiana State) and PK Seth Marler (Tulane) … Three Saints players have ties to North Florida: TE Boo Williams (Tallahassee), G Montrae Holland (Florida State) and WR Talman Gardner (Florida State). … Players who were teammates in college include: Jaguars G Chris Naeole and Saints P Mitch Berger at Colorado; Jaguars SS Donovin Darius and Saints S Tebucky Jones at Syracuse; Jaguars G Vince Manuwai and Saints RB James Fenderson at Hawaii; Jaguars S Deke Cooper and Saints S Deveron Harper at Notre Dame; Jaguars DT Rob Meier and Saints S Steve Gleason at Washington State; Jaguars LB Deon Humphrey with Saints G Montrae Holland and WR Talman Gardner at Florida State; Jaguars LB Tony Gilbert and DT Marcus Stroud with Saints OT Jon Stinchcomb, DE Charles Grant and DT Johnathan Sullivan at Georgia; Jaguars DT John Henderson and Saints WR Donté Stallworth at Tennessee; Jaguars CB Fernando Bryant and Saints DT Kenny Smith at Alabama; Jaguars RB/KR David Allen and Saints DE Darren Howard at Kansas State; and Jaguars RB LaBrandon Toefield and Saints DT Kenderick Allen at Louisiana State. … Jaguars WR Cortez Hankton and Saints LB Derrick Rodgers both attended St. Augustine High School in New Orleans.
LAST WEEK: The Jaguars were defeated by the New England Patriots 27-13 at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., dropping to 4-10 for the season. It was the eighth consecutive loss on the road for the Jaguars. The Jaguars had several scoring opportunities in the first half but managed only two field goals out of three drives into the red zone. They trailed 13-6 at halftime. The second half was played in a snowstorm, the first time the Jaguars have ever played in the snow. Byron Leftwich threw two second-half interceptions that the Patriots turned into touchdowns, as they increased their lead to 27-6. The Patriots entered the game with an NFL-best 11-2 record and won their 10th consecutive game. They had shut out the last two teams to visit Gillette Stadium and had not allowed a touchdown at home in their previous four games. The Jaguars ended both of those streaks. Seth Marler kicked a field goal on Jacksonville's first possession of the game, his first of two field goals before missing one. The Jaguars scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter to snap the Patriots' other streak, when Leftwich threw a 27-yard TD pass to Kevin Johnson. The Jaguars held an opponent to fewer than 300 yards on offense for the fifth consecutive game, the first time the defense has accomplished that since 1999. However, the Patriots had long drives on their first two possessions, scoring a touchdown and a field goal. Their two touchdown drives following the second-half interceptions were only 35 and 3 yards.
NOTES FROM THE PATRIOTS GAME: The Jaguars lost to the Patriots for the third time in three regular-season games and are 1-4 against New England overall. … It was the Jaguars' first loss to a Bill Belichick-coached team. … The temperature at kickoff was 25 degrees (16 wind chill), the team's third-coldest game ever. Jacksonville is 2-3 in games played at 35 degrees or colder. … The game was only the second NFL game in the last 25 seasons in which each team won its previous game by a shutout. … For the fifth straight game, the Jaguars held an opponent to fewer than 300 total yards, outgaining the Patriots 354 to 296. However, the Jaguars trailed in first downs (17 to 18) and time of possession (27:19 to 32:41). … The Jaguars converted 6 of 14 third downs, while the Patriots converted 8 of 16 third downs … QB Byron Leftwich is now 4-0 when he does not throw an interception and 0-7 when he is intercepted. He completed 21 of 40 passes for 288 yards, one TD and two interceptions for a passer rating of 63.3. The Patriots entered the game with an NFL-best 59.4 opponent passer rating. … The Patriots had not allowed a touchdown on 62 consecutive drives (and 23 straight in New England territory) until Leftwich connected with Kevin Johnson in the fourth quarter. … Fred Taylor rushed 16 times for 57 yards. He became the 56th player in NFL history to rush for 6,000 yards, finishing the game with 6,041 yards. … Johnson led the team with 5 receptions for 87 yards and a touchdown, his first as a Jaguar. He caught a pass in his 77th straight game, every one in his career. … Jimmy Smith caught two passes for 73 yards, including a 67-yarder in the first quarter that is his third-longest ever, Leftwich's second-longest and the team's eighth-longest. He became the 18th player in NFL history to surpass 10,000 yards receiving for his career and now has totals of 10,043 receiving yards and 712 receptions. Smith has now caught a pass in 42 straight games, the third-longest streak in team history. … Mark Royals punted five times for a 43.2-yard average, with no touchbacks, none inside the 20 and a long of 50 yards. He had five kicks returned for 49 yards and a 33.4-yard net average. … The team had two sacks, one each by John Henderson (giving him 2.5 this year) and MLB Mike Peterson (his first as a Jaguar). … The Jaguars allowed only one sack and have allowed only four sacks in the last six games. … David Allen returned two punts for minus-1 yard and six kickoffs for a season high 147 yards. … The Jaguars had two turnovers and one takeaway and are minus-three for the season. … MLB Mike Peterson led the team with 16 tackles (8 solo), followed by SLB Akin Ayodele with 14 tackles (7 solo). … Every player who dressed saw action except QB David Garrard, CB Blue Adams, RB Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala and OT/G Leander Jordan. The inactive players were: QB Mark Brunell, CB Jason Craft, OT/G Sammy Williams, C Brett Romberg, OL Marques Ogden, TE George Wrighster and DT Matt Leonard. … Jaguars captains were: RB Fred Taylor, C Brad Meester, SS Donovin Darius, DT John Henderson and S Nick Sorensen.
FROM COACH JACK DEL RIO ON THE PATRIOTS GAME: "They did the things they needed to do to win the game. They kept us out when we moved the ball and got in the red zone, and they got some turnovers late and converted third downs. If you want to be a good football team and beat a team like this in their place, you have got to do better in those areas. We were 0-3 in the red zone. If you're going to beat a team like the Patriots, you're going to have to convert some of those into touchdowns. We weren't able to do that today. It's disappointing."
(on the loss) "We came in knowing it would be a big challenge. We were able to do some things, particularly early in the game when we moved the ball freely. We just didn't capitalize. We knocked on the door three times and came away with a total of six points. That's not enough production after moving the ball like that. I think it's another learning experience. We have no doubt that our team is willing to go out and put forth the type of effort and physical play that you need to be effective in this league."
FROM QB BYRON LEFTWICH: (on the difference between the first and second half) "I just think I made two mistakes. The whole second half came down to two mistakes and I think us not taking advantage of our opportunities early in the first half really hurt us. We have to score more touchdowns and not kick field goals. I actually liked our chances (going into the game). I know what type of team we have, and we did a lot of good things offensively. We just didn't take advantage of probably just three plays. That's the difference between scoring six points and 21 points. When you play a team like this that has a great defensive scheme, they're not going to give you a whole lot of opportunities, so when you do get them, you have to take advantage of them."
(on what he did effectively) "I think we had some success. I wish we had four plays back, because I think that's the difference between winning the football game. We just came out and competed, and we just fell a little short today."
FROM WR JIMMY SMITH: "We have a long way to go, if this (New England) is supposed to be the best team in the NFL. You understand why they are the best team. They take advantage of the opportunities that they get, a couple of turnovers, and they turn them into scores. We have to be able to put some points on the board offensively. Our defense is pretty good, and we have to measure up offensively to our defense. We hung in there. They're supposed to be the best team in the league, so that's a positive we'll pull from this. We're hanging in there with the big guns."
(on being 0-7 on the road this season) "That's frustrating. We're a young team. We're learning and getting better as a team. We played a good football team today and hung in there a majority of the game. We'll continue to pull the positives out, the fact that we came into a hostile environment and hung in there with them for three quarters."
FROM FB MARC EDWARDS: "We just took a step backwards today. We shot ourselves in the foot a little bit. In the first half, we didn't really capitalize on some opportunities. But I am very comfortable with what we are doing here and what Jack (Del Rio) is doing. It is very promising for the future."
NEXT WEEK:: The Jaguars will close out their ninth season when they face the Atlanta Falcons at 1:00 EST Sunday, December 28 at the Georgia Dome. It will be the third game between the two teams, with Jacksonville having won both of the previous contests. The Falcons are 3-11 this season, after losing to the Indianapolis Colts 38-7 last Sunday. They are coached on an interim basis by Wade Phillips, who replaced Dan Reeves. The Falcons are led by QB Michael Vick, who missed the first 12 games of this season with a fractured fibula suffered in the preseason.
OH, THAT D: When Jack Del Rio was named head coach of the Jaguars last January 17, he promised an aggressive defense. That's what he has. Through 14 games, the Jaguars rank sixth in the NFL in total defense and second in run defense. That is the Jaguars' highest overall defensive ranking since 1999 when they finished fourth in the league. Their run defense has its highest ranking ever after 14 games. In the last five games, the Jaguars have allowed only 60 points, the fewest in the NFL in that time and their fewest in a five-game stretch since 1999. They have also given up only 1,169 yards in those five games, an average of 233.8 yards per game. In the last four games, opposing offenses have converted only 15 of 53 third downs (28.3 percent), as compared to 62 of 138 (44.9 percent) in the first 10 games. The league average is 37.3 percent.
Even though the Jaguars are in fourth place in the AFC South, they have allowed only three more points than the division-leading Indianapolis Colts and four more points than the Tennessee Titans.
TAYLOR, SMITH REACH MILESTONES:
-- RB Fred Taylor surpassed 6,000 yards rushing for his career and now has 6,041 rushing yards He became the 56th player in NFL history to hit the 6,000-yard mark.
-- WR Jimmy Smith surpassed 10,000 yards receiving for his career and now has 10,043 receiving yards. He became the 18th player in NFL history to hit the 10,000-yard mark.
TAYLOR RANKS THIRD IN RUSHING YARDS PER GAME: Jaguars RB Fred Taylor ranks third among active NFL running backs with an average of 86.7 rushing yards per game (minimum 50 games).
THE ONES THAT GOT AWAY: Five of the Jaguars' 10 losses this season have been decided in the final minute of play.
JAGUARS ON PACE TO ALLOW TEAM'S FEWEST SACKS EVER: The Jaguars have allowed only 26 sacks this season — just four in the last six games, the best six-game stretch in team history — and are on pace to set a team record for fewest allowed. With an average of 1.9 sacks allowed per game, the Jaguars would finish the season at 30, breaking the team record of 36 sacks given up in 1999.
O-LINE AND D-LINE: The key to the success of the Jaguars' rushing offense — Fred Taylor is the AFC's fifth-leading rusher — and run defense this season — ranked second in the NFL — has been the consistency of the two lines. The starting offensive line has remained the same all season, except for Game 10 at Tennessee, when rookie LG Vince Manuwai was sidelined and the following week when Jamar Nesbit started but Manuwai returned on the third series. For the season's first nine games, for the first time in Jaguars history, the starting offensive line and defensive line had stayed the same. The other four offensive linemen — LT Mike Pearson, C Brad Meester, RG Chris Naeole and RT Maurice Williams — have started all 14 games, and Meester, Naeole and Williams have played every offensive snap so far. The Jaguars' offensive line has allowed only four sacks in the last six games, the fewest ever in any six-game stretch for the team. The defensive line has been intact for all 14 games so far. In the franchise's first eight seasons, the defensive line had never gone past the fourth game of the season before the starters changed. This year, the starters — LE Tony Brackens, DTs Marcus Stroud and John Henderson, and RE Hugh Douglas — play 40 to 90 percent of the defensive snaps, while often rotating with backups such as DEs Lionel Barnes and Paul Spicer and DT Rob Meier.
SECOND HALF OF THE SEASON: The Jaguars have won three of seven games since the start of November, and three of the losses were decided in the final minute of play.
THE RUSH STOPS HERE:This season, the Jaguars rank second in the NFL in rushing defense (84.2 yards per game) and first in the NFL in rushing yards per attempt (3.1). In the last 13 games, the Jaguars have held opposing starting ballcarriers to an average of 53.5 yards per game and an average of only 3.1 yards per rush. They have not allowed a starting running back to score a touchdown in seven straight games. For the season, Jacksonville has allowed only 64 more rushing yards than Tennessee, which has the No. 1-ranked run defense. Under head coach Jack Del Rio, the Jaguars' defense has improved from 20th overall in 2002 to sixth this year, and the run defense has improved from 25th a year ago to second. The Jacksonville run defense is on pace to be better than the Carolina defense in 2002, when Del Rio was the Panthers' defensive coordinator. Last season, the Panthers finished eighth in run defense, allowing 103 yards per game, and first in average per rush (3.7). The Jaguars are allowing 1.7 fewer rushing yards per game than the 85.9 yards rushing allowed by the No. 1-ranked Steelers in 2002.
LEFTWICH RANKS NO. 3 AMONG ROOKIE PASSERS 1983-2003: Of the 37 quarterbacks who have been drafted in the first round in the last 21 years — since the great quarterback draft of 1983 — the Jaguars' Byron Leftwich has the third-highest passer rating for his rookie season.
SMITH 17TH AND 18TH AMONG ALL-TIME RECEIVERS: Jaguars WR Jimmy Smith ranks 17th on the NFL's all-time receiving list and 18th in career receiving yards. Smith has 712 career receptions for 10,043 yards.
BRADY RANKS NO. 5 AMONG TIGHT ENDS: In the last five seasons, the Jaguars' Kyle Brady has the fifth most receptions of active tight ends.
TAYLOR HAS SEVENTH-MOST TOUCHDOWNS LAST FIVE YEARS: Despite missing 24 full games and parts of nine others, Jaguars RB Fred Taylor has scored the seventh-most touchdowns over the last six seasons among active players.
DOUGLAS IS EIGHTH-LEADING ACTIVE SACKER: Jaguars DE Hugh Douglas is tied for eighth among active players in sacks.
NEW FACES: There are 28 new faces among the 52 players on the Jaguars' current roster. Here is the breakdown.
Unrestricted Free Agents (3) — DE Hugh Douglas, FB Marc Edwards, LB Mike Peterson
Veteran Free Agents (9) — DE Lionel Barnes, S Deke Cooper, WR Troy Edwards, RB Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala, LB Deon Humphrey, G Jamar Nesbit, P Mark Royals, S Nick Sorensen, OT/G Sammy William
First-year free agents (2) — RB/KR David Allen, S Ray Perryman
Trade (1) — S Anthony Mitchell
Waivers (1) — WR Kevin Johnson
Draft Choices (8) — QB Byron Leftwich, DB Rashean Mathis, G Vince Manuwai, TE George Wrighster, RB LaBrandon Toefield, OT Marques Ogden, CB Blue Adams (signed off Tampa Bay's practice squad), LB Tony Gilbert (signed off Arizona's practice squad)
Undrafted Rookies (4) — WR Cortez Hankton, DT Matt Leonard, PK Seth Marler, C Brett Romberg
JAGUARS ROOKIE STARTERS ON OPENING DAY: Two members of this year's draft class started the season opener, becoming the 11th and 12th rookies to start for the Jaguars on opening day.
1995 — OT Brian DeMarco, TE Pete Mitchell, RB James Stewart
1996 — LB Kevin Hardy
1997 — None
1998 — S Donovin Darius
1999 — CB Fernando Bryant
2000 — G Brad Meester, DB Kiwaukee Thomas
2001 — S Marlon McCree, OT Maurice Williams
2002 — None
2003 — G Vince Manuwai, S Rashean Mathis
JAGUARS IN THE COMMUNITY: Each week during the NFL season, Jaguars players are involved in the community making visits to schools and other non-profit agencies. Here are some visits for this week:
Tuesday, December 15
11:00 – 1:00 p.m. P Chris Hanson, TE/LS Joe Zelenka, LB Akin Ayodele and DB James Trapp will attend a luncheon as nominees for the Morgan Stanley Community Leader of the Year at ALLTEL Stadium. Morgan Stanley will present a check in the amount of $3,000 to the winner's charity of choice.
11:00 – 1:00 p.m. S Donovin Darius, S Deke Cooper, QB David Garrard, RB Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala, C Brett Romberg, OT Maurice Williams, CB Kiwaukee Thomas, CB/S Rashean Mathis and CB Chris Brown will sign autographs and hand out T-shirts at the Avenues Mall (between J.C. Penney and Dillard's) to support the Florida/ Georgia Blood Alliance Gift of Life Blood Drive.
3:00 – 5:00 p.m. OL Marques Ogden, QB Quinn Gray, G Vince Manuwai, WR Cortez Hankton and LB Deon Humphrey will sign autographs and hand out T-shirts at the Avenues Mall (between J.C. Penney and Dillard's) to support the Florida/ Georgia Blood Alliance Gift of Life Blood Drive.
3:30 – 5:30 p.m. QB Byron Leftwich will visit the Mali Vai Washington Kids Foundation and the Bridge of Northeast Florida to deliver free Reebok shoes to selected underprivileged children involved in those programs.
5:00 – 7:00 p.m. S Anthony Mitchell and his wife, Candice, will meet fans and sign autographs at the Venetia Village Winn-Dixie Marketplace located at 5647 Roosevelt Blvd. to help promote the sale of the JagNet cookbook.
JAGUARS AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS: The Jaguars rank 13th in the NFL in total offense (14th rushing, 11th passing), and they are 6th in defense (2nd rushing and 15th passing). … QB Byron Leftwich is 14th in the AFC in passing with a 73.2 passer rating. … PK Seth Marler is 11th in the AFC with 80 points (26 of 26 PATS, 18 of 29 FGAs). … RB Fred Taylor is fifth in the AFC with 1,257 rushing yards. He ranks fifth in the conference with 1,592 yards from scrimmage. … WR Jimmy Smith is tied for 25th in the AFC with 48 receptions and 13th with 756 receiving yards. … P Mark Royals is ninth in the AFC with a 35.6-yard net average and is 10th in the AFC with a 41.3 gross average. … David Allen is sixth in the AFC with a 11.0 average on punt returns. … DE Tony Brackens is tied for 16th in the AFC with 6.0 sacks. … LB Akin Ayodele is tied for second in the AFC among defensive players with three fumble recoveries.
STATS AND SUCH: A total of 15 players have started every game this season (six on offense and nine on defense): OTs Mike Pearson and Maurice Williams, G Chris Naeole, C Brad Meester, RB Fred Taylor, FB Marc Edwards, DEs Tony Brackens and Hugh Douglas, DTs Marcus Stroud and John Henderson, LBs Mike Peterson and Akin Ayodele, CB Fernando Bryant, and S Donovin Darius and CB/S Rashean Mathis. … In 14 games, the Jaguars have used four different starting lineup combinations on offense and five different starting combinations on defense. The Jaguars have used turnovers to score 31 points, while their opponents scored 85 points off Jaguars' turnovers. … The Jaguars have had 17 plays of 30 or more yards in 2003. They had 16 plays of 30-plus yards in 2002, 11 in 2001, 26 in 2000, 23 in 1999, 29 in 1998, 22 in 1997, 26 in 1996 and 12 in 1995. The Jaguars have allowed 16 30-plus plays this season… Of the Jaguars' 275 completed passes, 145 have been to wide receivers, 40 to tight ends and 90 to running backs. Sixteen different players have caught passes this season, the most in franchise history. … The Jaguars have 14 interceptions this season, five shy of their 1999 single-season record of 19. Two of those interceptions are by defensive linemen (Tony Brackens and Paul Spicer) and four are by linebackers (Mike Peterson with three and Akin Ayodele). … The Jaguars are 10 for 21 on fourth-down conversions; their opponents are 7 for 12 … On 37 drives inside the opponent's 20, the Jaguars have scored 16 touchdowns and 12 field goals. Their opponents have had 39 trips inside the red zone and have come away with 20 touchdowns and 15 field goals. … Jaguars opponents have begun 19 possessions inside their own 20 and scored on two of those drives (2 TDs), while the Jaguars have begun 41 possessions inside their own 20 and scored on nine of those drives (6 TDs, 3 FGs). … In nine seasons, the Jaguars are 17 for 27 on two-point conversions (0 for 1 in 2003), while their opponents are 8 for 26 (1 for 3 in 2003). … In nine seasons, the Jaguars' record for each month is: 1-0 in August, 16-17 in September, 14-21 in October, 21-15 in November, 19-16 in December and 1-1 in January. Mark Brunell is 63-54 in 117 regular-season starts, 67-58 overall. Byron Leftwich is 4-7. … WR Jimmy Smith has played in 137 of the 142 games in Jaguars history. Of the current players, next are QB Mark Brunell (120) and DE Tony Brackens (106). … The longest streak of consecutive starts by a Jaguar is held by C Brad Meester (team-record 62), followed by WR Jimmy Smith (49) and then four players with 30 consecutive starts: CB Fernando Bryant, RB Fred Taylor, DT Marcus Stroud and G Chris Naeole (who has 70 straight starts dating back to 1999 with New Orleans) … The Jaguars' current longest streak of games played is held by TE Kyle Brady (64), followed by Meester and DT Rob Meier (62 each). … Seven players have played in 100 or more games during their careers: P Mark Royals (222), WR Jimmy Smith (144), TE Kyle Brady (138), QB Mark Brunell (122), DE Hugh Douglas (120), FB Marc Edwards (110) and DE Tony Brackens (106). … Brady leads with 131 career starts, followed by Brunell (117), Smith (116) and DE Hugh Douglas (103).