Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JAGUARS NOTEBOOK; Division Hopes on the Line

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

JAGUARS NOTEBOOK; Division Hopes on the Line

Article excerpt

Byline: VITO STELLINO

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio usually follows the coaching handbook and acts as if each game is just one-sixteenth of the season.

But even Del Rio admitted Thursday that if the Jaguars hope to end the Indianapolis Colts' four-year reign as division champion, they probably need to beat the favored Colts on Monday night.

"A victory would allow us to draw even with them with a 2-1 record in the division,'' he said. "The opposite result would not be so favorable because they would have a two-plus game division lead and they would have played their three divisional road games so it would give them a huge leg up.''

"So it's a game we very much need to scratch and claw and find a way to win.''

The 5-0 Colts have already won in Houston and Tennessee. If they win Monday night, they'll have gained a division road sweep and play all three division rematches at home.

PRIME TIME STAGE

Though the Monday night games on ESPN don't get the audience that they used to on ABC - 20 million homes don't have cable or satellite TV - the players still treat Monday Night Football as a special event.

"Monday Night Football is huge,'' cornerback Rashean Mathis said. "Everybody wants to be on that stage. There is no bigger stage.''

Actually, the Sunday night stage is technically bigger because it's on network TV on NBC, but more players watch MNF because it's the only game that day.

Del Rio said he loved Monday night as a player and still loves them as a coach, except for the short week afterward.

"I think it's a lot of fun,'' Del Rio said.

One player who isn't always watching MNF is Jaguars running back Maurice Drew, who said he was sleeping last Monday night.

"I was tired,'' Drew said. "You need to go to sleep instead of watching those games. That TV will mess your brain up. I'm going to start teaching my kids when I get them that we're going to read books. …

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