Now that reports say that Byron Leftwich will not play Sunday, it's time to look at the Jags' offense against the Eagles defense. They come into this game ranked pretty much the middle of the league in scoring at just over 20 points a game.
Without Leftwich and WR Matt Jones(questionable), the Jags are certainly not as potent as they could be. Still, they've got talent especially in the run game. Fred Taylor is healthy, albeit unhappy this year, and rushing for 4.2 yards a carry. Rookie Maurice Jones-Drew provides a great change of pace and already has 5 rushing and receiving TDs combined. It's going to be important for McCoy, Jones, and the safeties to counter the speed of Drew out of the backfield and as he runs to edge. As usual, Trotter and the DT rotation will have the task of stopping the power attack of Taylor up the middle. Their rushing attack is in the top half of league with 115.7.
The Jags receiving corps is interesting. They have a ton of size, with Reggie Williams(6'4"), Ernest Wilford(6'4"), & Matt Jones(6'6"). Jones and Williams are both former 1st round picks. The problem is, what they have in size they lack in speed. A real home run threat has not emerged amongst the group yet. None of them average over 50 yds/g. With the return of Rod Hood to the Eagle secondary, they should be fairly well prepared to handle this group. The Jags as a team are near the bottom of the league throwing for 185 yds/g. That said, former #9 overall pick Reggie Williams is having a solid year with 4 TDs so far.
Garrard is obviously a bit of an unknown coming into this game. He started 5 games toward the end of last year and was 4-1 with his only loss to the Colts. He's more mobile than Leftwich, but just not the passer... In the 7 games he got in last year he threw for 4 TDs and 1 pick, he hasn't thrown a pass this year. He doesn't make a ton of mistakes, but he isn't the kind of the QB that's going to rack up a ton of stats. As with any QB without a ton of starting experience the plan should be to confuse him with lots of different looks and to bring pressure. No doubt that's what Jim Johnson will try to do. The Eagles still lead the NFL with 25 sacks, but the Jags have done a fantastic job of protecting the passer allowing only 9 sacks. The Eagles pass rush has been very schizophrenic this year and the Jags' pass protection should be a great test for them.