Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Conservative Style Isn't a Bad Look for Jags

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Conservative Style Isn't a Bad Look for Jags

Article excerpt

Granted, the Jacksonville Jaguars are not themselves. It's as if they've gone to a plastic surgeon and received a full makeover.

That once high-flying offense is struggling on third down, frustrated by its inability to throw deep successfully. If this keeps up, Jimmy Smith may start to get a reputation as a possession receiver. How much have things changed? It's to the point where Team Field Position has become content to let punter Bryan Barker pin the opposition or wait for Aaron Beasley, Gary Walker or some defender to step up to make a game-defining play.

More blitz. Less glitz.

But Dom it, that is not necessarily a bad thing. While the Jaguars are in an entertainment business, they're being paid first and foremost to win. And by any means necessary. Even if some victories look as picturesque as Phyllis Diller on steroids.

"We're not a reflection of our past teams," said offensive tackle Leon Searcy. "We're not Air Jaguar. People are so used to us throwing the ball downfield, big plays after big plays. Those things aren't happening right now. It reminds me of the Pittsburgh Steelers team that we went to the Super Bowl with [in 1995]. What we did wasn't pretty, but we won."

That's not enough for some black-and-teal worshippers. As much as they longed to have the NFL's No. 1 defense under coordinator Dom Capers, it pains them to know that the defense's rise has coincided with the offense's fall.

The overriding complaint this season has centered on why the Jaguars are kicking too many field goals and scoring fewer touchdowns. Never mind that a completely healthy Fred Taylor, even as well as James Stewart has performed in his absence, figures to open things up considerably for Mark Brunell. Right now, the mood seems to be that a 4-1 record and co-ownership of first place in their division is nothing special.

Just try telling that to the Denver Broncos, Atlanta Falcons or Minnesota Vikings. If NFL history tells us anything, it's that nobody has a right to be picky about how you get to victory lane. …

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