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"A little too conservative"


With fans and observers criticizing the team's offensive approach early in the season – particularly during the second half of a loss to the previously winless Carolina Panthers Sunday – Del Rio said it may be time for an altered approach offensively.

 "I'm not sure what caused us to be as conservative as we were," Del Rio said Monday, a day after the Jaguars (1-2) ran 34 times and threw 21 passes in a 16-10 loss to the Carolina Panthers (1-2) in Charlotte, N.C.

"Offensively, I thought we were a little too conservative, quite frankly."

With rookie Blaine Gabbert making his first NFL start at quarterback for the Jaguars Sunday, the Jaguars ran 34 times for 128 yards and Gabbert threw 21 passes, completing 12 for 139 yards and one touchdown with one interception.

Del Rio said the weather conditions also likely played a role. Much of the second quarter was played in a driving rain, and the conditions were soggy and slick thereafter.

"I think the combination of the weather and our ability to run, them missing two linebackers and obviously Blaine's first start may have contributed to that, but it really wasn't the kind of look I'd like us to have," Del Rio said. "I thought we were a little too conservative and I'd like us to see us increase our aggressiveness in attacking defenses and attacking scheme and attacking personnel and going after them.

"We'll discuss that as a staff, but I think that was apparent in looking at the ballgame.

Gabbert completed 5 of 8 second-half passes for 55 yards, and on four drives in the second half with the Jaguars holding the lead, Gabbert threw just three passes.

Gabbert said the conditions almost certainly altered the offensive approach Sunday.

"I don't expect five inches of rain in a game again," Gabbert said. "We're going to do what we do. Coach (offensive coordinator Dirk) Koetter is going to call a great game, like he always does, and we're going to execute at a high level.

"Whatever I have to do to help this team win, whatever they need me to do, I'm going to do. Like I said, with that amount of rain and those types of field conditions and the lack of dry balls we had out there, we had to run the football. . . .

"There was quite a bit of water on the field. . . . That makes it tough to throw the football."

Said wide receiver Mike Thomas, "Of course, we want as many opportunities as we can possibly have, but due to the conditions of the game you expect to run it more than you pass it."

Del Rio said his approach as a head coach is to allow offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter and defensive coordinator Mel Tucker control of play-calling, offering his thoughts in key situations.

"We try and discuss prior to the game and then I like to let the coordinators call the game," he said. "If there's a key moment in a key situation, if there's something I'd absolutely like to see then I always have the ability to, I do have a headset and I do have communication with them. They can understand my thoughts on certain situations."

The Jaguars through three games have scored 29 points, and are ranked 28thin the NFL in total offense – sixth in rushing and 32ndin passing. Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew said if the time has come to open the offense there's no reason Gabbert – who replaced veteran Like McCown in the starting lineup last week – can't handle the situation.

"He's ready for it," Jones-Drew said. "Blaine's been doing a great job since he's been here. He's the guy and if he's going to be the guy for the next 15 years, why not start now? We're going to see what the game plan entails for us and how we feel like we can attack the Saints.

"We'll make sure everything is going right and put up the points. We've got to hold up our end of the bargain and we will."

Jones-Drew also said it remains the responsibility of the rest of the offense to play better around Gabbert.

"He's doing a great job, leading us and getting us into a position to be successful and make plays," Jones-Drew said. "He's a young guy playing in a league with a bunch of grown men around him. We just have to protect him. That's our job and we didn't do that well."

Jones-Drew said "protect" in this case means more than blitz protection.

"We have to pick it up," Jones-Drew said. "When I say, 'protect,' I mean when he throws the ball we have to catch it. That's everybody. There are some things we can work on in that aspect as well."

Del Rio said when it comes to being more aggressive, it was his belief that the Jaguars had "designs to do so" entering the Panthers game, and said he expects the Jaguars to be "more aggressive, more proactive going after people."

"I've always been a fan of scoring more and scoring a lot and yeah, I would like to see that part of our football team improve dramatically," he said.

Jones-Drew said he believes the Jaguars will do just that.

"We have to execute better," Jones-Drew said. "We had the right plays called. We have to get a little better at the line of scrimmage. We had some trying things, but that's why we're professionals.

"We just have to work on our basics, and get back in that rhythm like we had in Week 1. I think we'll be all right."

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