Jacksonville Jaguars beat writer Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union joined Nick Scurfield of HoustonTexans.com to preview the Week 13 Texans-Jaguars game in Jacksonville.
Stellino, a former president of the Pro Football Writers Association of America, received the Dick McCann Memorial Award from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989 while covering the NFL for the Baltimore Sun.
Nick Scurfield: The Jaguars are 6-5 right now and sitting in that second Wild Card spot in the AFC. When the season started, a lot of people were talking about them being in rebuilding mode. How would you assess the Jaguars' performance this season?
Vito Stellino: Kind of puzzling. In a rebuilding mode, they're making progress. Most of the rookies that are on the team, they look like they're heading in the right direction. But on the other hand, they've had this propensity to get blown out, especially on the road: 41-0 to Seattle, 30-13 in Tennessee, 20-3 last week in San Francisco. So they've been kind of up and down, a little unpredictable. Now, of course, they're 2-4 on the road, 4-1 at home and this game's at home, so that's a big advantage for them.
Nick Scurfield: It seems like the Jaguars haven't been getting a lot of respect or notoriety around the league. Do you think that's something that motivates the players at all?
Vito Stellino: They're kind of used to it, so I don't know. What motivates them is they've got to win this game to stay in the playoff hunt. If they lose this game, to get to 10 wins they'd have to win the rest of their final four, and two of them are against the Colts and the Patriots. Now, sometimes 9-7 will maybe sneak you in; you don't know. But this is a huge game for them.
For more, including Stellno's thoughts on Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, the Texans-Jaguars rivalry and the Jaguars' young cornerbacks, click here to listen to the full interview in a HoustonTexans.com podcast.