Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

At Least It Didn't Count: Jaguars 'Not Even Close' in Loss; del Rio Is Unhappy about the Team's Lack of Progress This Preseason

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

At Least It Didn't Count: Jaguars 'Not Even Close' in Loss; del Rio Is Unhappy about the Team's Lack of Progress This Preseason

Article excerpt

Byline: MICHAEL C. WRIGHT

Close your eyes for a second.

What you see -- nothing -- represents the positives coming from the Jaguars' front-line players Saturday in their 19-14 preseason loss to the Miami Dolphins. Because it's the preseason, all isn't lost for the Jaguars, who meet the division-rival Tennessee Titans 20 days from now in a game that actually counts.

"I had written down some things I was looking for before the game," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. "I was hoping to come in and share the progress that we made."

Instead, Del Rio had to respond to questions about his team's display of regression in front of the home crowd at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.

Headed into the game, Del Rio put together a checklist of expected improvements.

-- About gap fits, leverage and tackling for the defense, Del Rio said the performance was "not even close to what we need to have."

-- About offensive execution, route consistency of the receivers, the quarterback's drops, timing and ball security, Del Rio hit the repeat button, saying, "not even close."

"All in all, the report is not what we're looking for," Del Rio said. "That's the way I can sum it up. [I'm] not going to sit here and try and explain it. It just wasn't what we need."

With the club's most significant test of the preseason on the horizon, the Jaguars will likely turn up the intensity at practice this week in preparation for Saturday's road game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Typically, a team's starters play well into the second half in the third preseason game, which is usually the closest comparison -- in terms of intensity -- to a regular-season contest. The week after, live action is limited for front-line players, who are often held out of the exhibition finale because teams want evaluate on-the-bubble prospects and avoid injuries.

Looking back at Saturday's game, the Jaguars seek sharpening in every facet.

The passing game needs vast improvement. Quarterback David Garrard's completion percentage sits at 45.8, and his passer rating is 58.9. Garrard is averaging 4.5 yards per completion. On multiple occasions, he's misfired on sure touchdown passes.

The struggles of left tackle Khalif Barnes don't appear to be helping the situation. Against the Dolphins, Barnes missed blocks that allowed defenders into the backfield to disrupt Garrard's timing.

The receivers haven't been reliable, either. Second-year pro Mike Walker has dropped sure touchdowns in consecutive weeks, and Dennis Northcutt hasn't made a catch all preseason. The good news on that front is that the Jaguars expect Reggie Williams to return this week, and it's possible No. 1 receiver Jerry Porter could be back, too.

"Things happen to put you in check," said receiver Troy Williamson, who returned Saturday for his first action of the preseason. …

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