Filling in for Peterson, rookie Durant plays well for Jaguars Print
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Tuesday, 27 November 2007 00:35
NFL Headline News

 JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) -Rookie linebacker Justin Durant made the first two tackles against Buffalo, erasing the anxiety that came with trying to replace team leader Mike Peterson.
The fast start set the tone for what turned out to be Durant's best game with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
``It's always good to get involved early,'' Durant said. ``I made a couple of plays and got myself started.''
Durant played 51 of Jacksonville's 67 defensive snaps and finished with 11 tackles. But his biggest contribution came in the fourth quarter.
The Bills trailed 22-14 and were driving. On second-and-11 from the Jacksonville 33, Losman tried to hook up with Josh Reed across the middle. But Durant stepped in front and made his first career interception, a sliding grab that helped seal the 36-14 victory.
``That was real big for me because it was not just my first interception, but it came at a point when they were driving and could have scored the tying touchdown,'' Durant said.
Durant made some mistakes. He missed tackles, took bad angles to the ball and was out of position at times.
But overall, his performance was better than the Jaguars could have hoped after losing Peterson indefinitely with a broken right hand.
``He played very well in spurts,'' coach Jack Del Rio said Monday. ``In the first six plays of the game, he was in on five tackles. He was very active. He had the big interception that killed their drive.
``He's shown some flashes of things we're excited about and then he did some things that, as he gains experience, he won't make those same kind of mistakes. It was good, but we know he's capable of better. It was good experience for him.''
It was also a big turnaround for the second-round draft pick who was arrested earlier this month and suspended two games.
Durant was arrested Nov. 3 after Jacksonville Sheriff's Office deputies found him passed out behind the wheel of his Cadillac Escalade at an exit ramp. Durant was cited for resisting arrest without violence and having an open alcohol container. He passed a field sobriety test.
Del Rio suspended him two games and fined him two game checks.
Durant apologized to the organization, his teammates and fans for ``the embarrassment and distraction I brought on them.''
Then Durant decided to do something positive during his time away from the team. He went back to Hampton and endowed an athletic scholarship in his name. He also donated money to his high school, Wilson High in Florence, S.C.
Peterson's injury then allowed him to contribute on the field, too.
``He damn near made every tackle in the first half,'' fellow linebacker Clint Ingram said. ``I said, 'Come on J.D., you're going to have to save some for somebody else.' He said, 'No man, you better get there faster.'
``He played really well. He might have had a few breakdowns, but that's just growing pains. He's only going to get better.''
 

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