NFL PREVIEW: Jacksonville Jaguars

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David Moore

David Moore has been the senior football writer for FOX Sports since Aug. 2005. He appears weekly on the FSN Baseball Report and MLB on FOX. One more line lorem ipsum dolor sit amet e pluribus unum.


Champs or chumps: This is a Super Bowl team. Excuse me. I meant to say this is a Super Bowl city. Jacksonville is in the rotation to host the event. That means the people of Jacksonville will get to experience what being in a Super Bowl is like before the do. This franchise has endured three consecutive losing seasons and is likely to suffer another. Jacksonville is weaning itself off of quarterback and the team's successful run in the late '90s. The are in the final, painful throes of a salary-cap purge that will leave them positioned to move forward in the future. Look for 2003 to be a transition year in that process. Reasons for hope: Jack Del Rio has never been a head coach. He had only one year of experience as a defensive coordinator before landing the Jacksonville job. But those who wonder what owner Wayne Weaver saw in this 40-year-old coach will soon find out. Del Rio has the perfect temperament to take charge after the oppressive and aloof Tom Coughlin. He's thorough and demanding, yet accessible. He played linebacker in this league until the mid-'90s, so the players will be inclined to give him a chance even though he lacks coaching experience. Del Rio has the goods and he has charisma. That's a winning combination. Don't get too excited: Receiver has been suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy. Running back , the team's most dangerous offensive weapon, has been limited in training camp with a bruised knee and has completed a 16-game schedule just once in his five-year career. Take those two out of an offense that ranked 25th in the NFL last season, and there's not much left. The defense will be more aggressive under Del Rio and defensive coordinator Mike Smith, but it remains to be seen if the have the personnel to carry it off. The secondary is smaller than Del Rio would like and is average at best.

Meet the 2003
Projected offensive lineup

Projected defensive lineup

Projected special teams lineup
K Seth Marler
PR Lewis

Scout's take on the
"The Jaguars have a few young guys to build around and some veteran support, but there are too many questions and limitations on both sides of the ball. Jacksonville could struggle just to finish with six wins again this season."
— Scouting insider Brian DeLucia

More on the
  • Jaguars' team page
  • Roster | Depth chart
  • Schedule | NFL on FOX schedule
  • NFL fantasy news
  • Hello, my name is: . He's big. His arm is strong. He's the future of this franchise at quarterback. The only question is when that future will start. This is Brunell's final season in Jacksonville. It was believed he would handle the position in 2003, help tutor the team's first- round pick then hand the ball to Leftwich on his way out the door. But there have been indications in recent days that if the can move Brunell to a quarterback-starved team this season and get something in return, they will. The coaching staff didn't get to see as much of Leftwich as they would have liked in training camp because he agreed to terms late, but in his first game he did lead the to a victory over Miami on the team's final drive. Sure, it was just preseason. But it gives a hint of what's to come. Revolving door: Defensive end was the team's biggest free-agent acquisition. He improves a defense that finished in the middle of the NFL pack in sacks, should make tackles and more productive and is insurance if is unable to return to form. Outside linebackers and were also imported to start in Del Rio's scheme. Three starters in the offensive line — center and tackles and — left in free agency. will move over from guard to fill the center spot while the two tackle spots will be filled from the team's young, unproven nucleus in the line. Veteran receiver could fill a bigger role than expected now that Smith has been suspended. If Taylor goes down, is no longer around to back him up. Fourth-round pick should fill that role. Ones to watch: The get to see how they stack up against the other teams in Florida when they play Miami on Oct. 12 and Tampa Bay on Nov. 30. Del Rio gets to match wits with his former employers when he faces John Fox and Carolina to open the season Sept. 7 and Brian Billick and Baltimore on Nov. 2. The forecast: Jacksonville lost nine of its final 12 games last season. The only game the won in the AFC South was against Houston. The team enters this season with one of the five toughest schedules in the league. Put it all together, and this season is more about survival and beginning to establish a new identity under Del Rio than it is about the playoffs. Veteran NFL correspondent David Moore is a regular contributor to
    Tagged: Buccaneers, Redskins, Jaguars, Ravens, Steelers, Texans, Todd Fordham, Mike Peterson, Hugh Douglas, Marco Coleman, Jamar Nesbit, Mark Brunell, Zach Wiegert, Fred Taylor, John Wade, Brad Meester, Marcus Stroud, Maurice Williams, Marlon McCree, Jimmy Smith, Akin Ayodele, David Carr, Joe Zelenka, Andre Johnson, Byron Leftwich

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