Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Starters Receive Extended Look Tonight; Leftwich Eager to Play Longer Tonight against Bucs, the Top-Ranked Defense in 2005

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Starters Receive Extended Look Tonight; Leftwich Eager to Play Longer Tonight against Bucs, the Top-Ranked Defense in 2005

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO

The Jaguars will stage their annual preseason dress rehearsal at Alltel Stadium tonight.

Their game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers will be the third of the preseason, which is usually the one in which the starters see the most action.

"The third preseason game is pretty much what is going to dictate the season, for me," wide receiver Ernest Wilford said. "The starters play a little more and you get a good taste of what the offense, defense and special teams are going to be like during the season."

Coach Jack Del Rio indicated the starters will play at least a half and possibly into the third quarter.

By contrast, the starters will likely see only token action next Thursday night in Atlanta, when they close out the preseason. The main emphasis in the final preseason game is to avoid injuries before the regular-season opener against Dallas on Sept. 10.

That doesn't mean the third preseason game is always a barometer. Last year they lost the third game to Atlanta 23-7 and still went 12-4 in the regular season.

The focus of the game will continue to be on an offense that is still struggling to replace wide receiver Jimmy Smith. The offense should be helped by the return of Matt Jones, who was held out of last Saturday's game with an ankle injury.

Jones is playing Smith's old position.

Wilford is likely to start at the other wide receiver position, although Del Rio said he'll also introduce three receivers, including Reggie Williams, in the starting lineup.

"I forgot all about that [replacing Smith]," Wilford said. "Jimmy was a great guy during his time here. Now we have to move on. We have to find our own identity. With the guys we have here, we are more than capable of replacing a guy like Jimmy."

In the first two preseason games, quarterback Byron Leftwich played in eight series and put only 10 points on the board, all against the Miami backups. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.