Harris says expectations won't distract Jags

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

Jacksonville Vice President of Player Personnel James "Shack" Harris knows a lot of people are expecting big things from the Jaguars this season.

They are a popular pick to return to the playoffs a year after an 11-5 season and an upset Wild Card round playoff win in Pittsburgh. Now, some even expect Jacksonville to knock Indianapolis out of the top spot in the AFC South.

But Harris said such talk falls outside what the Jaguars are looking at and thinking about.

"Our focus is on continuing to play hard and to play our best football consistently," Harris said. "How we are perceived, you don't want to allow that to affect our performance. It's just important we continue to play well, play hard. That's what we've done and the team had matured some. So that's not something that will be part of our focus."

Is he conscious of the talk, though?

"We hear it and we're aware of it," he said. "You always like the compliments, but not to the point where they become part of your focus. We want to keep our focus on the field."

Sounds like focus will be a big theme in Jacksonville when players report to camp on July 25.

With an influx of new players, the Jaguars are counting on significant contributions from veteran receivers Jerry Porter and Troy Williamson and rookie defensive ends Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves as well as four new assistant coaches on Jack Del Rio's staff. It may be a bit easier for the Jaguars not to get caught up in expectations.