The NFL notebook …
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. ó Maybe it was the revered opponent. Maybe it was the prime-time stage. Maybe it was the five-game losing streak.
Either way, it was enough to motivate the Jacksonville Jaguars to their best defensive effort in years.
The Jaguars dominated the Baltimore Ravens in a 12-7 victory Monday night, allowing 146 yards, forcing nine three-and-outs, recording three sacks and taking advantage of two turnovers.
“I just think our guys just played real well,” coach Jack Del Rio said Tuesday. “I don’t know if there’s ever been a team that’s not excited for Monday night.”
The Jaguars (2-5) certainly did. The win could be the spark the rebuilding team needs to turn around a season that got off to a slow start with two quarterback changes and some offensive line shuffling.
SANTA CLARA, Calif. ó Donte Whitner figures he fielded 20 questions last week from family and friends about Jim Harbaugh’s antics. Vernon Davis went home to Washington, D.C., and got grilled by his buddies for any and all details on San Francisco’s fired-up head coach.
The Handshake is still a big hit a week later. Across the nation, no less.
“It’s still a hot topic, especially when they show it so many times on ESPN and all these places,” Whitner said Tuesday.
Harbaugh’s NFC West-leading 49ers (5-1) returned to practice and work Tuesday in preparation for Sunday’s home game against the Cleveland Browns. Many were still talking about Harbaugh’s infamous firm handshake and backslap with Jim Schwartz that infuriated the Lions coach. The men had to be separated as they left the field following the 49ers’ 25-19 comeback victory Oct. 16 at Ford Field.
Nobody denies that the hype around this franchise largely stems from the man in charge, the former NFL quarterback who is finding immediate success in his first season as a professional head coach.
“The first thing they said to me, ‘Your coach is crazy,'” Davis recalled of conversations with his pals last week. “I was like: ‘Harbaugh, no he’s not crazy, he’s a great guy. He just has a lot of energy.’ They also talked about our record, how we’re 5-1, ‘You’re all rollin’, you’re rollin.’ I’m like, ‘Yeah, but I’m not worried about that, I’m not thinking about that.’ I can’t think about 5-1. We still have 10 more games to finish. Once we finish that, then I’ll get excited.”
INDIANAPOLIS ó Kerry Collins came to Indianapolis to win a Super Bowl ring. He may leave town without a win.
Two months after signing with the Colts, the 17-year veteran was placed on injured reserve with a concussion ó a move that will definitely end his season, and possibly his NFL career.
It’s been a strange year for Collins, who announced in July he was retiring, then was wooed out of retirement with a $4 million deal to be Manning’s backup.
But when Manning had another neck surgery in early September, Collins was suddenly promoted to starter. And now, with Manning still not expected back at practice before December, it’s Collins ó not Manning ó who is on injured reserve.