Del Rio wary of hype as Jaguars open camp

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio opened his first team meeting by showing a highlight video from last season, reminding his players of everything they accomplished en route to winning a playoff game for the first time in eight years.

He followed it with a slideshow designed to put it in perspective.

The presentation showed that New England has been in five of the last seven AFC championship games, that Indianapolis has won five consecutive AFC South titles and a Super Bowl, that Pittsburgh has advanced to two of the last four AFC title games and won a Super Bowl, and that San Diego has made the playoffs the last two seasons.

Del Rio wanted to point out that Jacksonville's success, while notable, paled by comparison. It was his way of subtlety humbling his guys before training camp began Saturday and reminding them that all the preseason praise - Jacksonville is a trendy pick to reach the Super Bowl - means nothing.

"Let's not get caught up in the hype," Del Rio said. "Let's go to work."

Despite the words of caution, Del Rio acknowledged his team's lofty expectations. Although he didn't offer players a neat catchphrase or a nifty slogan for 2008 - a change from recent years - he did have a strong message for them: Be more mature.

"As men, you can be what you set your mind on, what you're willing to sacrifice for, what you're willing to dedicate yourself to," Del Rio said. "As a football team, the same rule applies. We can be what we set our minds on and what we dedicate ourselves to and what we are willing to sacrifice for. If we can mature as men and give that type of effort, that dedication, that complete buy-in to that purpose, and then collectively as a team do the same, then we can have a special year."

The Jaguars finished 11-5 in the 2007 regular season and beat Pittsburgh in the opening round of the playoffs. They lost the following week at New England, then spent the offseason overhauling the roster and tweaking the coaching staff in hopes of better competing with the Colts and Patriots.

Jacksonville, which is 1-8 against Indy and New England the last three years, signed receiver Jerry Porter to a six-year, $30 million contract and bolstered an ineffective pass rush by drafting Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves with their first two selections in April.

But Porter and Harvey were missing on the first day of camp.

Porter had surgery last week to repair a torn hamstring, was placed on the physically unable to perform list Saturday and will miss at least the entire preseason. Harvey, meanwhile, is the team's lone holdout. The rookie defensive end could miss significant time, too, since his agent and the team appear to be way off in negotiations.

"Time missed is time lost," Del Rio said. "You hope that you don't miss a lot of time because then you're playing catch-up the rest of the year and that's not the best way to have an impact your rookie year. ... It's hard to be a big part of the plan if you miss too much."

Receiver Reggie Williams (knee), defensive end Jeremy Mincey (wrist), safety Chad Nkang (wrist) and tight end George Wrighster (knee) also were placed on the PUP list Saturday.

Receiver Mike Walker and star running back Fred Taylor were the only other players who skipped practice Saturday. Walker, still recovering from a knee injury, was held out of the morning session for precautionary reasons. Taylor attended the funeral of Samari Rolle's father in South Florida.

Before he left Jacksonville, Taylor attended Friday's team meeting, which he said inspired everyone to set higher goals this season.

"You have to build off where we left off last year and just try and do better," Taylor said. "So in our case, it's almost Super Bowl or bust. I'm glad we had a chance last year, or got a little taste, of the playoffs. Hopefully guys come back energized and hopefully we can build off that and try and make some noise."

And add some new clips to Del Rio's highlight video.

"Last year was a great year, but it's time for us to move on and start anew and make 2008 even better," quarterback David Garrard said. "(But) we can't just think we are going to show up on the field and have another great year. We have to go through a lot of great teams and it starts right in our division. We have to go out and make sure we win that first and foremost."

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