With fewer names, Jags look to team theme

The Jaguars have fewer high-profile stars than any team in the AFC South and rank near the bottom of the league in nationally popular players.

That they are tied for first place with Indianapolis and hold the tie-breaker over the Colts from a head-to-head win earlier this season, then, is a testament to how some of their players should be more highly regarded and how this team is better than the sum of its parts.

Gene Smith is in his second season as general manager. He has turned over a large share of the roster and put a big premium on quality guys. While he and the Jaguars have to be disappointed they failed to take control of the division against the New York Giants in New Jersey on Sunday, they knew a reconstruction project was going to take some time.

David Garrard addressed these themes in a Wednesday conference call with Nashville media in advance of the Jaguars' game at Tennessee:

“It’s not always about the names, it about the team. It’s about the team and the way the team prepares, the way the team goes out and executes and plays hard and rallies around one another. That’s what it’s really about. You’ve seen in history when teams have been loaded with all these different names and really haven’t been able to do much with it. I think that really proves as long as you have enough guys that can make plays but then the other guys know their roles, that really is what equals a talented team. It’s not just always about the name on the back of the jersey.

“We definitely think that Gene and Jack [Del Rio] have done a great job of putting together our team. When we’re on top of our game, when we’re executing, when we’re playing Jaguar football then we feel like we can definitely compete with anybody. We don’t get the same kind of love a lot of other teams get, we don’t get same kind of pub a lot other teams get. But that’s OK. We’ll just keep flying under the radar, keep sneaking up on people and I know you can’t sneak up all the time. But that’s OK, because by that time once they realize where we are still playing great football and we’re doing our jobs.”

Jack Del Rio was joking about clich├ęs when he was asked about the idea of his team being greater than the sum of its parts.

“Well that’s what we’re working at, that’s the idea of team, is to come together,” he said. “With a group coming together, you can become more than just the sum of the parts and that’s what we’re after. We’re definitely driving for that, working for that, committing to that and dedicating ourselves to that. When you have the results and are executing well, then you can achieve those types of things and that’s really what we’re after.”