What does a quarterback from Fresno State have against a team from Jacksonville?
That question, posed to quarterback David Carr by a member of the Houston media earlier this week, seemed innocent enough. Carr actually had a hard time coming up with an answer initially.
Then he thought back to the previous matchups against the Jaguars, and he quickly remembered how the division rivalry began.
"I think it's just something where we've had some good games against them," he said. "We went down there a couple years ago when they were trying to get in the playoffs and we end up beating them .We had a nice win here. They've beaten us a couple times. It's something that goes back-and-forth. I think the guys have a good feeling for them. I think we match up well against them."
Nobody can forget Carr's dive over the goal line in the waning seconds of the 2003 matchup against the Jaguars at Reliant Stadium. Carr thinks that game only added fuel to the fire.
"I was pretty jacked up," Carr said of the game-winning touchdown. "That was fun. I think that has a lot to do with the feeling that this team brings any time you see them on the schedule and you get ready to play them on Battle Red Day. It all gets me a little fired up. I know we'll be ready to play on Sunday."
Around the league, Carr isn't known for trash talking or being overly boisterous. I guess that's the best indication of the rivalry between Houston and Jacksonville: Carr talks more against the Jaguars than any other team. In fact, Carr looks forward to the banter, even if it's not necessarily in his nature to jaw back-and-forth.
"The big guys jump around a lot," Carr said of defensive tackles John Henderson and Marcus Stroud. "They dance and sing and they like to rap. Sometimes you can't even understand what they're saying because they're talking so fast and loud that you just fire back at them with whatever you got. It kind of gets me into the game.
"Even if they're not saying anything, they're always in your grill, they're up in your face mask. It's hard to explain. I guess it's just a feeling you have when you play against those guys."
It's a feeling shared by many players, and it's as good a reason as any to tune in Sunday for the game.
Carr plans to leave everything on the field, and he hopes his teammates do the same.
"Just get fired up," Carr said. "What do we have to lose? We got a team and we're struggling a little bit. We should go out and play as loose as we ever have played. What guys have to realize in this situation is that the pressure is on the other team. If they lose to us, it's tough, because we're 1-4."
I am a big believer in the quarterback setting the tone for the entire team. And I like Carr's attitude. Let's hope it spreads to all his teammates.
Tidbits: I've received some e-mail from fans wondering where the Commissioner of Tailgating will be Sunday. I'm not sure, but from what I can tell, it won't be too difficult to find him. His bus is enormous.
Anyone notice Jaguars quarterback Byron Leftwich was added to the injury report today? Interesting. I doubt he'll miss the game, but that's is a very intriguing development. **
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