Jags Defense Still An Issue

If the third preseason game is a dress rehearsal, the Jaguars aren't ready for prime time.



The Jaguars' first stringers fell behind 17-0 and then the backups couldn't hold a 15-point fourth-period lead in a 35-32 overtime loss to the Buffalo Bills.

"Not the beginning or ending that we were looking for," said coach Jack Del Rio.

The Jaguars showed they still have some of the same problems that plagued them last year when they lost their final three games of the season.

They have little pass rush of the opposing quarterback and their quarterback is inconsistent.

Their pass defense was shredded by Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who hadn't put a touchdown on the board in their first two preseason games. The Jaguars' passing game was erratic as the first stringers got only one first down in their first three series.

The Jaguars put little pressure on Fitzpatrick and Del Rio said, "The quarterback looked a little too comfortable tonight, so we didn't really like looking at that."

The Jaguars are the only team in the league without a sack in their first three preseason games.

What the Jaguars now hope is that the return of their four key defensive players - Aaron Kampman, Tyson Alualu, Clint Session and Jeremy Mincey - will upgrade their pass defense.

And that the return of running back Maurice Jones-Drew and offensive tackle Eben Britton could get the running game going, which could help the passing game get going.

Jones-Drew and Kampman are supposed to return Thursday night in the final preseason game against the Rams and Britton is supposed to be ready for the regular-season opener.

Del Rio wouldn't give out any details on the other injured players.

"It's the time of year where I really don't have to disclose (injuries) so I'm not going to," he said.

The team's first league mandated injury report isn't due until a week from Wednesday.

Getting Jones-Drew back could give the offense a new look.

"Maurice is a special player," quarterback David Garrard said. "So it definitely makes a difference. We're expecting a lot from (Jones-Drew), a lot from Marcedes (Lewis), a lot from the offensive line and a lot from myself. Just a lot from everybody if we want to be a championship team."

Then there's the question of the pass rush.

When Del Rio was asked if it's going to improve, he said, "I'm not very good at predictions. We feel like we affected the guy last week (Matt Ryan). We didn't affect him very well tonight."

When Del Rio was asked if he wasn't that concerned about the pass rush, he said, "I just don't feel like getting riled up right now."

It remains to be seen if the return of some of their injured players will make a difference.

"It definitely hurt us a little bit not to have a couple of our guys. Mincey and Tyson are some big-time playmakers for us who can get pressure on the quarterbacks. To not have those guys, they were definitely missed," middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said.

The Jaguars gave up a franchise record 419 points last year and they have to improve that defense if they're to make a playoff run this year.

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