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Will Jaguars bond or break?


It is in the league's hands. They will decide whether or not Gerard Warren's hit on Mark Brunell was wrongful, or if, in fact, it was just part of the game of football.

No more commentary is necessary. The league will decide.

With that having been said, let's focus on more important issues confronting the Jaguars as they turn into October, the month when it all fell apart a year ago. The 2000 Jaguars went from 2-1 to 2-6 and out of playoff contention.

Adversity and crisis can split a team, or it can unify it. Which will it be for this team? Consider the issues:

• Coach Tom Coughlin made what he believed was an innocuous comment to his players following the Jaguars' win over Tennessee on Sept. 23. Unfortunately, Coughlin's remark -- "We're 2-0 and on our way to 3-0" -- was not made in the usual privacy reserved for postgame locker rooms. NFL Films was there to record the event.

Usually, such a comment would be considered harmless and would be dismissed by the upcoming opponent as coachspeak. However, the Browns turned Coughlin's words into a rallying cry, and they rubbed the coach's face in those remarks by beating the Jaguars this past Sunday.

The Jaguars' reaction to their coach's personal adversity will go a long way toward determining Coughlin's relationship with this squad. How will they react?

"It was probably because of what coach said," running back Fred Taylor said when asked why the Browns were so hopped up for this past Sunday's game, "and we didn't back him up. He didn't mean nothing by it; just like I don't mean what I say half the time. I don't care about bulletin board stuff."

How will the Jaguars respond? Will they blame their coach and abandon him, or back him up with the only kind of answer that matters, performance? The Jaguars must respond with an effort that returns the same faith in their coach that he showed in his players when he "predicted" 3-0. We're talking about the opportunity for this team and its coach to bond, and it's most important they do.

• Offensive tackle Tony Boselli's playing future this season would seem to be in doubt due to a shoulder injury of unknown but feared severity. How will the Jaguars react if Boselli is not in their future huddle? Reports were that Boselli's absence this past Sunday had a profoundly negative impact on the Jaguars' psyche.

There would be no replacing Boselli's skill level. Whatever the Jaguars could offer in the way of a substitute for Boselli would have to come in the form of greater grit and determination. Is this team capable of that? The answer to that question may define this season.

They are issues that could bond or break this team. The answers will be provided from what lives inside the Jaguars.

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