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Following up: Offensive and defensive lines progress

Posted Aug 10, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars HC Gus Bradley liked what he saw from lines in preseason opener; WR Justin Blackmon and S Johnathan Cyprien probable for Monday.

Jacksonville Jaguars against Miami Dolphins in EverBank Field

JACKSONVILLE – There were things Gus Bradley didn’t like Friday.

That’s expected in a one-sided loss, even a loss in a preseason opener, but Bradley said a day later there were positives to take from his first game as Jaguars head coach, too, most notably the play of the two lines.

Each unit had something to prove entering training camp.

And each stood out at times in a 27-3 loss to the Miami Dolphins Friday night at EverBank Field, with the starting offensive line continuing a strong week leading to the game, and the defensive front showing significant pressure on Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill early in the game.

[CLICK FOR: Photo gallery from MIA vs JAC game]

“I thought we were active for four quarters,” Bradley said Saturday in his next-day press conference at EverBank Field. “I thought we competed.”

The Jaguars also got positive news on the injury front, with Bradley saying safety Johnathan Cyprien and wide receiver Justin Blackmon could practice Monday.

Cyprien and Blackmon have been out since the beginning of training camp, with Cyprien on the non-football injury list with a hamstring injury and Blackmon on the Physically Unable to Perform list after offseason groin surgery.

Bradley said the two are probable Monday.

“That’s two good things right there,” Bradley said. “We’ll wait and see on Monday, but we feel good about that.”

Linebacker Russell Allen sustained an ankle sprain on the first play Friday, but he played after that and the situation isn’t thought to be serious. Tight end Isaiah Stanback sustained a quad strain.

Defensive end Ryan Davis is being evaluated after sustaining a concussion Friday.

Davis, a first-year end who has impressed coaches through camp and who is competing with Andre Branch for time at the Leo position, through much of Friday’s game was part of a pass rush that looked good at times. The Jaguars registered two sacks, including one by defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks on the game’s first series.

The Jaguars pressured Tannehill throughout the first three series, with defensive end Andre Branch tackling him for a 2-yard gain on the first series after the Dolphins quarterback was forced to run.

“It felt good,” defensive end Tyson Alualu said. “It’s a feeling we can definitely get used to, just going out and having fun, taking turns making plays and feeding off of that. It’s an exciting time. We’re excited about our unit, or group and what we can do this season.”

Said Bradley, “You could see Sen’Derrick. You see they’re trying to work their games, and how they’re working together. They just have to understand how each one of them operates and what they can do.”

Bradley said as significant as the pass rush was the play of an offensive line that had improved throughout last week. The Jaguars rushed for 126 yards on 26 carries, and allowed just one sack on 42 pass attempts.

“They carried it over to a game,” Bradley said. “That was a great sign.”

Bradley also said he met with Blackmon and defensive end Jason Babin regarding an on-field incident that led to running back Maurice Jones-Drew escorting Blackmon off the field in the first half.

Blackmon had gotten into an argument with Dolphins cornerback Nolan Carroll, and Babin and Blackmon reportedly also had words.

“I brought both of them in and said, ‘Explain this situation,’” Bradley said. “It was good. . . . It gave me an opportunity to check it out, but it was a lot smaller than what I initially thought.”

Said Babin, “It’s an emotional game. It’s how it’s done. It’s football. Whatever happens Sunday happens Sunday, and that’s it.”

Also on Saturday, Bradley said:

*He has yet to decide on a quarterback rotation for the game against the Jets Saturday. Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne each got snaps with the starters Friday, with Gabbert starting and completing 5 of 10 passes for 19 yards and an interception and Henne completing 8 of 11 passes for 87 yards.

[CLICK FOR: Gameday stats and full coverage for MIA vs JAC game]

*While first-team wide receivers Cecil Shorts III and Blackmon didn’t play, and while Jones-Drew didn’t, either, evaluation could still be done on the quarterback position. Bradley said the coaches still look at communication, timing and tempo. “That doesn’t matter with who’s on the field, but ideally you’d like to have your starting guys on the field,” Bradley said.

*The Jaguars will continue to “put strain” on the team’s four-man rush. That was a focus entering the preseason opener, and the Jaguars blitzed just twice on Friday. Those plays resulted in an interception by cornerback Dwayne Gratz and a sack by defensive tackle D’Anthony Smith, but Bradley said the staff needs to know what it in its front-four pass rush entering the season.

*The Jaguars stayed simple on the back end of the defense Friday. Right now, the coaches are trying to teach what he calls “the essence of the defense” before moving onto more complex packages. “That’s what we’re teaching them now and that’s why we were so simple,” Bradley said.

*Rookie right tackle Luke Joeckel settled in after allowing an early pressure to Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake. Bradley said Joeckel overset on the play, but later “calmed down and played within himself and he was fine.”

*Rookie Denard Robinson got more comfortable in the offense as the game went on, rushing for 32 yards on nine carries. “That’s what happens with some of those young guys now,” Bradley said.

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