Jacksonville headed in the right direction

Jack Del Rio's tendency to go for it on fourth down is providing the building blocks for the future.

Updated: October 14, 2003, 12:29 PM ET
By By Darrell Trimble | NFL Insider
Just about every head coach is baptized by fire in their first season on the sidelines, and Jack Del Rio is no exception to rule. Six games into his inaugural season in Jacksonville, Del Rio already has his feet to the flames and things aren't going to get any easier.

Trouble for Del Rio started during the offseason, when three of his players, Larry Smith, John Henderson and Donald Hayes, succumbed to heat problems. Then he found out that he would lose All Pro receiver Jimmy Smith for the first four games of the season for violating the league's substance abuse policy.

Then, he had to bench Mark Brunell, who was the only quarterback Jags fans had ever known (that's not a shot at Steve Beuerlein) in favor of a rookie while convincing his team that he still has an eye on winning in the present and not the future.