Happy Birthday, Jaguars.
Unlike myself, football news doesn’t take breaks to visit family across the state so let’s catch up on all the Jaguar news I was ignoring for turkey and pecan pie.
The Jacksonville Jaguars, as of today, are 15 years old. Maybe that is why they are performing poorly. It is those rebellious teenage years gettin’ to them. Vic Ketchman wrote a lovely piece about his best memories of covering the Jacksonville Jaguars. Of all of them, I think this is the most interesting part:
"Byron Leftwich—Simply put, he is the most misunderstood, underappreciated and abused player I have ever covered. I’m not gonna tell you he’s a great player, but he’s a great guy and he never did anything to deserve the ridicule – they mocked the way he talked and walked and even called him fat – that was heaped on him in Jacksonville. On his draft day, he came to Jacksonville that night to meet with the media and present himself to his new team, new town and new fans. The excitement on his face was Christmas-like and he wore a handsome suit that featured a teal dress shirt. Hey, wait a minute. Who has a teal dress shirt in their closet? I knew right away that he went out and bought one that afternoon just for this occasion. What a shame that innocent enthusiasm had to meet with ugly contempt. His feud with Del Rio is only camouflage for the one we all tried to ignore."
I will admit, I called him Lumbering Leftwich. He always said he wasn’t slow, he just wasn’t as fast as other black quarterbacks.
You can look through a bunch of nifty stats (if that is your thing) that have accumulated over the years here.
So what do the Jaguars have to be thankful for this season? It took a bit for Vic to figure it out but he got it.
"The more I thought about this season, the more I started to wonder if there was anything for which to be thankful when we bit into our turkey on Thursday. I mean, come on, the Jags are 1-5 at home this year. You know what mean?Well, it was Peterson who snapped me out of my funk. Here’s a guy who’s really had a bad year – you know the story – but when I asked him if there was anything about which to be thankful, he didn’t have to think twice.“I’ve got plenty of things,” Peterson said. “Who would’ve ever thought I’d play 10 years in this league; retire with money in my pocket. I play this game because I love it.”"
The Jaguars spent a lot of time helping the community over the holiday:
- The Jaguars held their annual food distribution program. Tony Pashos, Brad Meester, Scott Starks, Marcedes Lewis, Mkristo Bruce, Brian Williams, Cleo Lemon and Dennis Norman helped out 3,000 families.
- Mike Peterson and his wife gave over 80 holiday dinner baskets to homes in Peterson’s home town. Each family was identified by the public schools and had to have children that went to one of the local schools.
- Fred Taylor and Santonio Holmes went back home to Belle Glade, Florida and held a special day for more than 100 families. They provided dinners for the families.
- David Garrard and his wife also distributed food baskets to local families.
- Drayton Florence and his family gave out food baskets in Jacksonville and then in Ocala.
- Thomas Williams, Drew Miller, Theo Horrocks and Paul Smith visited the troops at NAS Jacksonville. You can read more about that experience in Thomas Williams’s own words here.
The Texans will be wearing their Battle Red uniform for Monday night’s game.
David Garrard will definitely play against the Texans:
"Limited in practice earlier in the week because of bruised ribs, Jaguars quarterback David Garrard said he’s “ready to go,” and expects to play Monday night at Houston."
Mike Walker was excused from practice because a friend of his was stabbed in Orlando, Florida:
"Walker arrived on the scene just as an ambulance left the nightclub, and he followed it to a local hospital, before leaving at approximately 5 a.m., when Ezell was pronounced dead. Walker drove back to Jacksonville immediately and met with Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio."
Fred Taylor is not optimistic about his return to the team in 2009. However, he pleads his case:
"“I don’t want people to think I’m in the mode to retire because I’m not,” Taylor said. “I don’t want them to think I’m not passionate. I don’t want them to feel my skills have diminished. I still feel like I can compete on a higher level. That’s why I said I will play somewhere. I’ve got to play football. At this point, it seems that’s all I know.”"
I hope all of you out there in internet land had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday! Be sure to join us tomorrow for the live blog of the Jacksonville Jaguars taking on the Houston Texans!