Jack Del Rio maintains faith that his offense will come to life and snap the Jaguars' 56-game streak for not having scored 30 points in a game.
"I continue to see what I need to see to believe that will happen. I believe the pieces are in place and we need to get it done," Del Rio said. "It's there but we still have work to do. As the season plays out, I remain confident (Byron Leftwich) is going to play well."
Maybe this will be the weekend; the first time since Dec. 23, 2001, the Jaguars will reach the 30-point mark. If they do, it'll be against a St. Louis Rams team that is 31st in the league in points allowed.
"They will score on you so we need to score some points this week," wide receiver Jimmy Smith said of this Sunday's game at the Edward Jones Dome.
The Rams have been one of the league's highest-scoring teams since Kurt Warner led the Rams to the 1999 season Super Bowl title. The Rams are fourth in the league in points scored this year, but it must be noted that starting quarterback Marc Bulger is expected not to play against the Jaguars; it's expected Jamie Martin will be the Rams' starting quarterback for the second consecutive week.
This is a game that will begin what is thought to be a soft stretch of schedule for the Jaguars, whose next 10 opponents have a combined record of 21-43. Only one of those opponents, the Colts, has a winning record, and that game will be played in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars only need recall what happened to them last season to know the pitfalls of a soft schedule. That's what it was thought they had for the second half of last season, but Tennessee and Houston each scored upset wins at Alltel Stadium to keep the Jaguars out of the playoffs.
"All the proof you need is last year when the so-called experts said Pittsburgh and San Diego weren't going to be very good, and look at the seasons they had. This is a long, grinding season and the only sane way to approach it is one game at a time," Del Rio said.
The Rams would seem to be in a state of turmoil. Head coach Mike Martz is on a medical leave, but Martz called in plays from home during last Sunday's win over the Saints. Martz relayed the plays to someone in the press box who walked Martz' plays down to the Rams coaches' booth. After a couple of trips, team president John Shaw had the door to the booth locked.
"I can't imagine that being part of this storyline," Del
Rio said when asked if the Martz-Shaw flap will have a negative effect on the Rams.
To the Rams advantage is the NFL's best home winning percentage since 1999. The Rams are 41-10 at home since that title season.
"We're playing a high-scoring offense. (Our) running game has to play into it a whole lot. You want to minimize their opportunities to have the ball," Jaguars running back Fred Taylor said.
"We should be ascending," Leftwich said of the offense.
How high will they ascend? All the way to 30 points?