It really couldn't have been a more perfect day for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Everything that needed to happen to make this important season opener a success, happened.First and foremost, I'll give credit where it's due. David Garrard had an excellent game. He wasn't asked to do a lot in the passing game, throwing the football only 21 times, but he came up big on key plays. His first touchdown lead tight end Marcedes Lewis perfectly and let Lewis get the ball in stride to run for the touchdown. His next touchdown pass was underthrown a bit, but Lewis was still able to pluck the ball off the helmet of the defender and box him out for his second touchdown. Garrard's third touchdown pass of the day was a laser from 21-yards out to Kassim Osgood, who did a great job of boxing out Broncos safety Brian Dawkins and hauling in the touchdown.
As I said, Garrard wasn't asked to put the team on his shoulders, but he made plays when it mattered and the plays he did make were big. Not only that, but the offensive line showed up big. David Garrard was only hit 5 times, and the lone sack came from a play where Garrard was trying to hit the defense on a double move with a pump fake and just had to eat a sack.
"Those are the types of plays that we got to make all year long. It is always going to come down to a two‐minute or four‐minute drive. To have our defense step up like that this time, next time it might be time for the offense and we have to rise to the challenge," said David Garrard after the game.
Not only did Garrard have an efficient high scoring day, but two of the Jaguars biggest acquisitions of the off-season came up big as well. I lost count of how many times defensive end Aaron Kampman hit the quarterback, but according the ESPN.com it was six times. In total, the Jaguars hit Kyle Orton 11 times. Kampman had two big sacks on 3rd down to end drives. It seems like his knee is just fine. First round draft pick Tyson Alualu also had a big sack in the game on third down. The Jaguars setup with a 3-man line with Alualu at right end and Alualu powered through the left guard and left tackle to sack Kyle Orton. He also had a hit on Kyle Orton with Aaron Kampman's second sack, so don't be surprised if it's later changed to a half sack for each.
"We've talked a lot about the word relentless. That is kind of what we want to have the identity of. I talked at the luncheon a couple of days ago about being a smart and tough football team. A team that is tough mentally and physically and is smart doesn't beat itself. If we can get that as our identity we will be sitting pretty good," Kampman told reporters in the lockeroom.
The Jaguars defense as a whole was troublesome at times stopping the Broncos passing attack, but was stout against the run. The hype machine known as Tim Tebow played 3 snaps the entire game and was limited to only 2 rushing yards on two attempts. All that hype and he wound up being a complete non-factor, as I and many said he wouldn't be.
"Well its just another Quarterback, we he came out we knew he would run the ball so we played stout upfront and we just treated him like a running back," defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said about Tebow.
The biggest concern of the day was the fact that second year corner Derek Cox got beat like a drum the first half of the football game. In the second half, mysteriously Cox was absent for quite a while. "No. No we just felt his confidence has slipped a little bit in the game and we needed to go to David Jones who came in and made an immediate contribution," Jack Del Rio said when asked if Cox missed time due to an injury. It was fitting however, that the game ended on a Kyle Orton interception by linebacker Daryl Smith. The defense had played bend don't break most of the game, and ended the game to seal the victory.