The Jaguars have had one of the top running games in the league over the past several years, and with Maurice Jones-Drew and Fred Taylor in the backfield, it’s no wonder why.
But so far in 2008, they have struggled. In last week’s game against Pittsburgh, the Jaguars’ two-headed running attack combined for just 26 total yards on the ground. The Broncos’ defense remembers last year’s game against the Jags, however, so they know not to underestimate them.
“We still know the talent they have,” D.J. Williams told reporters after Friday’s practice. “Just cause last week they only had 26 yards doesn’t mean they’re not capable of coming in and running for 100 or 200 yards. But that’s our job – to stop them from doing that.”
In that game last year, Jacksonville had an 18-play, 80-yard touchdown drive that lasted over 11 minutes. Preventing them from repeating that performance will be key in pulling out a victory Sunday, and Williams believes he knows the key to stopping that from happening again. It just needs to be implemented.
“I just say playing sound football – everybody guarding their man, guarding their gap, nobody out of place, knowing their responsibilities. Things like that.”
Williams wants to build on the success the defense had last week and carry it into Sunday’s game at INVESCO Field at Mile High. He has been impressed with the improvement of the defense so far, and now it’s just time to keep it going.
“I’ve been confident,” Williams said. “Last week, we played pretty well. We’re just looking to move forward and play better this week.”
So while the defense will analyze what things they did well in last week’s game, they are wary of looking into the past too much. In the NFL, it’s always about the next game — the next challenge. That next challenge is Jacksonville.
“The one thing we don’t want to do is become satisfied and complacent after one game,” Champ Bailey said. “This is a 16-game season. We have to do that every week. Unless we do that every week, it doesn’t make a difference whether we did it against Tampa or any other team.”
“We feel like we are heading in the right direction,” Bailey continued. “I think our coaches have done a great job understanding the talent that we have and how to utilize it. It is paying off now. We are getting better every week.”
Both the Broncos and the Jaguars are a little dinged up with injuries, and the two teams have released their injury reports.
For the Jaguars, starters safety Reggie Nelson and center Brad Meester will not suit up this weekend. Wide receiver Mike Walker will miss the game as well. Defensive tackle Rob Meier and gaurd Chris Naeole are both doubtful. Starting cornerbacks Rashean Mathis and Drayton Florence are both probable.
For Denver, Tony Scheffler, Ryan Torain and Selvin Young are out. Ebenezer Ekuban, Eddie Royal and Josh Shaw are all doubtful. Darrell Jackson will likely see his first game action since the season opener as he is listed as probable.
– Adam Zinser, DenverBroncos.com