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Jags insider previews game


Wide receiver Andre Johnson was limited to three catches at Jacksonville in Week 4, but has been the league's best receiver since.

Jacksonville Jaguars beat writer Vito Stellino of the *Florida Times-Union *joined Nick Scurfield of for an exclusive interview to share his thoughts on the Week 13 Texans-Jaguars game.

A former president of the Pro Football Writers Association of America, Stellino became a member of the writer's wing of the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989 while covering the NFL for the Baltimore Sun.

He previously gave his insights to **for the Week 4 matchup** between the AFC South rivals.

Nick Scurfield:How disappointing of a season has this been for the Jaguars?

Vito Stellino: It's been very disappointing because they had hoped to be a Super Bowl contender this year. They didn't see it coming.

Nick Scurfield: There have been recent grumblings about a lack of team unity in Jacksonville. Do you think the team is starting to lose faith in coach Jack Del Rio?

Vito Stellino: He's got a four-year contract extension through 2012, so he's in charge. If these players don't buy into his program, he'll get players who will. Del Rio has said team chemistry isn't the same as it was last year, but it's hard to judge what effect that has.

Nick Scurfield: How much of the Jaguars' struggles this season can be attributed to the offensive line injuries earlier this year?

Vito Stellino: The offensive line problems have hurt, but the real problem is they've drafted only one Pro Bowl player since 2003, and the players Tom Coughlin left behind have grown old or have departed. They don't have enough playmakers.

Nick Scurfield: What's different about the Jaguars since their Week 4 matchup with the Texans?

Vito Stellino: It's pretty much the same team, although I would suspect they can't pull off a fake punt the way they did in the first game. I would think Houston would look for that this time.

Nick Scurfield: Texans players are really excited for their first-ever Monday Night Football game. What have Jacksonville players said about playing in primetime, and do you think it means as much to them as it does to the Texans?

Vito Stellino: For a team that was talking about going to the Super Bowl, playing another 4-7 team on MNF doesn't have much cache. Also, MNF isn't what it used to be now that it's on ESPN. The feature game is on Sunday night on NBC.

Nick Scurfield: Cornerback Rashean Mathis has been successful against Andre Johnson in the past, and the Jaguars limited Johnson to three catches in Week 4. Johnson has been on fire since that game, though. How do you think he'll fare this Monday?

Vito Stellino: Mathis hasn't practiced on Wednesdays for several weeks because of a sore foot that seems to have affected his play. He also tries too often to go for interceptions and Johnson might take advantage of that.

Nick Scurfield: I know you don't like to give predictions, but what's your prediction for the score?

Vito Stellino:The score figures to be something like 24-20. Either team could win it. The key for me is whether (Matt) Schaubplays and if he's effective. If he's healthy and plays the way he did in the first game, the Texans could win. If not, the Jaguars have a shot.


To read Stellino's coverage on the Florida Times-Union website, **click here**.

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