Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

It's Litmus Test for Jags

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

It's Litmus Test for Jags

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO

Jack Del Rio is pushing all his chips to the center of the table Sunday in Denver.

Stressing how important it is for a third game of a season, the Jaguars coach said, "This stacks up as a great early season test for our football team. ... It stacks up as a great challenge and a great opportunity to go in and see where we are."

Del Rio has even told his players that there's an asterisk next to this game against the Broncos.

"I think he described it as if a professor had a syllabus and maybe there would be an asterisk besides it," running back Fred Taylor said. "It's not the final exam, but it's one of those tests that is probably going to give you a little bit more confidence for the final because they're a playoff-caliber team."

One of the reasons this game is important is that it will determine whether the Jaguars will be 2-1 or 1-2 going into the bye week. The Jaguars have had a winning record after three games nine times in their first 12 seasons.

The matchup with the Broncos also could be a chance for the Jaguars to get their running game on track because Denver ranks 27th in the NFL in run defense. Last year, Taylor had rushing 166 yards after two games, and this year, he has 72. The Jaguars rank 21st in the NFL in rushing.

There has been speculation that the Jaguars spent so much time in training camp on the passing game, the running game got short shrift. There also has been speculation that they miss departed tight end Kyle Brady's blocking.

Taylor didn't seem to disagree with either theory. He smiled and said "no comment" to the first one and "next question" to the second.

Taylor also is thinking of what it would feel like to beat the Broncos.

"Imagine that plane ride home with a W," he said. "It'd be exciting. You have to visualize all this these good things happening. …

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