Midway through preseason, Jack Del Rio's not complaining.
Del Rio, entering his ninth season as the Jaguars' head coach, said while there were positives to be gleaned from a preseason home victory over Atlanta Friday, there is work to be done before the regular-season opener.
But while that's true, this is, too: enough time remains to get that work done.
"We're OK – we're making progress," Del Rio said Sunday, two days after a 15-13 preseason victory over the Atlanta Falcons Friday at EverBank Field.
"We're not ready to start the season right now, but we don't start it for three more weeks from today. We still have a lot more to do, but I feel like we're making progress. We have a goal in mind of where we need to be and we're going to be there."
The Jaguars, after trailing the Falcons 13-3 early in the third quarter, rallied with two third-quarter field goals by Josh Scobee and a 12-yard touchdown pass from third-team quarterback Luke McCown to rookie free-agent wide receiver Armon Binns.
Del Rio said he liked the physicality of the defense, and that he remains convinced the unit will be much improved from a unit that ranked 28thin the NFL a year ago. He also said there were "decent things on special teams" and that McCown "did a decent job against some backup guys at the end of the game, going down and leading us to a touchdown."
The Jaguars lost the preseason opener to New England, 47-12.
"I feel like the team is coming together and playing faster," Del Rio said. "We got a little better with conditioning. It was a week better from the first week in terms of where we were. We just need to take another step forward and squeeze what we can from these next three weeks as we get ready for the opener."
Three weeks into training camp, Del Rio called this year's team "a fun group to coach."
"It's been all business, all ball," Del Rio said. "Guys are dialed in. They're working hard. I'm not having to fine guys for not being where they're supposed to be. Guys have been on point that way, so we're just going about our business preparing for the year."
The Jaguars, who held what Del Rio called a light practice in shorts Sunday, will have Monday off, with the coming week scheduled to follow close to a regular-season schedule in preparation for Saturday night's preseason game at Buffalo.
The Jaguars had worked the previous three weeks in a training camp, two-a-day format, but this week they will return to a one-practice-per-day schedule. The Jaguars also will follow a regular-season routine this week in terms of game-plan and game preparation.
"We'll indoctrinate the team through those things starting Tuesday," Del Rio said.
With Week 3 of the preseason often considered the most important, Del Rio said the focus for the Jaguars this week will be to "continue to grow as a football team.
"We have to play fast to be at our best, so that will remain a focus for us as we go forward in Week 3," Del Rio said, adding, "We're learning every day in practice and every game we go out we get a chance to see a little more in terms of where we are as a football team. For me, I want to continue to sharpen up in all phases. I want to continue to improve."
Del Rio said the Jaguars have installed about 95 percent of the offense, defense and special teams systems that will be used this season.
"It's basically in," he said. "We just want to rep the stuff and fine-tune the system. This time of year we can really slow down and try to teach the fundamentals and techniques. You're not so much into game planning specifically for an opponent. Soon, very soon, we will be into selecting the Top 53 and game-planning for an opponent.
"It gets much more specific and you don't have that time to stop and teach a young guy the same way you do now. I want to maximize that time and continue to teach, learn and grow. Some of that will continue throughout the year, but it's a major point of emphasis right now."
Also on Sunday:
*Del Rio said he likes the play of the defensive line through two preseason games even though the team has yet to register a sack. "We all saw some positives in the last ball game in terms of the quarterback wasn't sitting back and looking real comfortable. I know the numbers will come over time. The effort and the energy and the way they're getting after people is the right way."
*Del Rio said free agent middle linebacker Paul Polsuszny "is going to be exactly what we need in the middle – a smart, tough, playmaking linebacker. In terms of impact, that will play out once we get going here. He has been all of the things we thought we were getting when we brought him in, so it has been good."
*Running back Deji Karim missed practice with a head injury sustained Friday against Atlanta, while running back Rashad Jennings and linebacker Clint Session returned from head injuries. Jennings and Session missed Friday's preseason victory over Atlanta.
*Del Rio said linebacker Kyle Bosworth played about 20 plays while starting for Session and "was pretty good. Nothing real bad, nothing real great. He was solid in his role and made a few plays he was called on to make."
*Safety Terrell Whitehead missed practice with a shoulder injury.
*Right tackle Eben Britton remained out of practice with a back injury, as did tight end Zach Miller. Each is expected to miss the rest of the preseason.
*Del Rio said it has yet to be determined if running back Maurice Jones-Drew and defensive end Aaron Kampman will play against the Bills Saturday. The duo has missed the first two preseason games after missing the end of last season with knee injuries. "
*Rookie safety Chris Prosinski (hamstring) and cornerback T.J. Heath each returned to practice. "They missed some time," Del Rio said. "We'll find out how much they've been paying attention. We continue with the install, so there are some things we're doing now that weren't installed when they first got injured. It will be a little bit of a test to see how much they were paying attention. In their case, as with anybody who's out, it's so critical they tune in mentally and get the mental reps where you can."