Jacksonville , Fla. — Kansas City and Jacksonville are counting on this season to be better than the last one.
It’d be tough to be any worse.
Coming off 2-14 records, the Chiefs and Jaguars open the season against each other today with new general managers, new coaches and lots of new faces.
One of them will get a different result.
The Chiefs, who lost four in row and 12 of 13 to end last season, have 30 new players on the 53-man roster. Jacksonville, which ended 2012 with a five-game losing streak and lost 12 of its final 13, has 26 newcomers.
“Sometimes change can be good,” said Chiefs coach Andy Reid, who spent the previous 14 seasons in Philadelphia.
Neither team appears done tweaking the roster, either.
The Jaguars added 10 players over a six-day span last week, making for a unique situation heading into the opener.
Aside from all the turnover, here are some things to know about the Chiefs and Jaguars before today’s game:
Top picks on display: Eric Fisher and Luke Joeckel didn’t become good friends during the NFL combine or the draft, but they have a lot in common as they make their NFL debuts. Not only were they picked first and second overall by Kansas City and Jacksonville, they moved from left to right tackle and were thrown into the starting lineup. “We just filled a void that the team needed,” said Joeckel, who’s facing a tougher task by going against Pro Bowl linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. “We’re here to help our team win football games. No matter what position that is, we’re going to do that.”
Jones-Drew’s return: Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew, playing his first regular-season game in nearly 11 months because of a foot injury, believes he’s ready for a heavy workload against the Chiefs. He might end up disappointed. The Jaguars have Justin Forsett, Jordan Todman and Denard Robinson also vying for carries, so Jones-Drew might not get his number called as often as he’s grown accustomed to in seven seasons.
Charles in charge: The Chiefs led the AFC in rushing last season and could be even better with Jamaal Charles in Reid’s West Coast offense. Charles ran for 1,509 yards and five touchdowns in 2012, recording two 200-yard games and three scoring runs of at least 80 yards. “He’s been unbelievable,” Jacksonville defensive coordinator Bob Babich said.