A Week 3 Look at the Jacksonville Jaguars in the AFC South
That's particularly true at quarterback.
David Garrard of the Jaguars and Michael Vick of the Philadelphia Eagles each will start at the position when the Jaguars and Eagles play in Jacksonville Sunday, but each will be under intense scrutiny.
The main difference: Garrard struggled in a big way last week while Vick may have taken a step toward resurrecting his career.
Garrard, the Jaguars' starter since 2006, threw four interceptions in a 38-13 loss to San Diego last week. After being questioned by fans and media throughout the offseason, he threw three touchdown passes in the regular-season opener, but he left Sunday's game in the second half. His replacement, Luke McCown, sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament late in the fourth quarter.
McCown's absence likely will prevent talk of a quarterback controversy in Jacksonville. The franchise on Tuesday acquired Todd Bouman, a 38-year old veteran who has been with six different teams, including three stints with Jacksonville each of the past three seasons.
Vick's situation has been more high-profile. After spending last season as the backup following his return to the NFL, he played extensivley in place of injury Kevin Kolb in the season opener, then started a victory over Detroit last week, completing 37 of 58 passes for 459 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
Eagles' Head Coach Andy Reid announced this week that Vick will start Sunday. It was a surprising move, considering the Eagles made an investment in Kolb this off-season, but Reid said Vick had earned the opportunity.
Still, starting quarterback without question will be a major issue in each city in the coming days.
Here is a a quick look at the Jacksonville Jaguars for Week 3
The opponent: home against Philadelphia (1-1).
The trend: The Jaguars lost last week after winning the regular-season opener. Keep in mind, no loss is a good loss, and while the Jaguars were out of a 38-13 Chargers victory by halftime, it was a game few expected the Jaguars to win - coming on the West Coast against a playoff contender that needed a victory.
Recent history: History isn't always pertinent in games between AFC and NFC teams, and the Jaguars' most recent meeting with the Eagles may have no importance at all because it came this year in the preseason. But the game was perhaps the most memorable of the Jaguars' preseason because the offense struggled early, creating a mini-quarterback controversy between starter Garrard and backup McCown.
Key question: Which Jaguars are the real Jaguars? They played solidly in the opener, and left a 24-17 with a good feeling and the support of the home crowd. Yet, Garrard struggled in San Diego and although the Jaguars faced tough circumstances in San Diego, they would have liked to have competed a bit more. The reality is the Jaguars may not be a team that's ready yet to beat an AFC power such as San Diego on the road, which makes home games such as Sunday's critical.
Pressing issue: How Garrard will respond? He was questioned throughout the off-season and training camp, and after a rough game against Philadelphia there were even some who wondered if McCown might earn the starting job. That talk waned after Garrard's three-touchdown game against Denver, but resurfaced after he completed 15 of 23 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown with four interceptions against San Diego. The touchdown came after he returned to the game late in the fourth quarter following an injury to McCown.