Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said the stopping the run will be key against Cincinnati.
Not only do the Bengals run effectively – with running back Cedric Benson rushing for 348 yards on 77 carries this season – the Jaguars allowed 177 yards rushing to the Saints last Sunday.
The effort against New Orleans came after the Jaguars entered the game having allowed 251 yards rushing in the first three games.
"It's something you always have to focus on," Posluszny said as the Jaguars (1-3) prepared to play the Bengals (2-2) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
Posluszny said that focus wasn't where it needed to be against New Orleans.
"We're playing against New Orleans," he said. "We're thinking, '(quarterback Drew) Brees, passing game' . . . as players, we lost our focus when it came to stopping the run. It showed. We didn't play with good technique and fundamentals.
"We made an emphasis to refocus on that this week. We want to be a great run-stuffing defense. It's something you have to focus on week after week. And it's obvious it's something we want to focus on this week because of the opponent."
On another note, Posluszny expressed surprise that New England Patriots center Logan Mankins had made reference to the Jaguars' defensive style Wednesday, and wondered why Mankins was thinking about the Jaguars' defense at all.
When asked about the New York Jets' defense, Mankins said, "It's not like Jacksonville, where they line up in one spot and don't do anything different."
Posluszny: "Why is he watching us? That's what I thought. Why was he analyzing our defense?"
It was noted to Posluszny that the Jaguars and Patriots had played in the preseason opener.
"That doesn't count," he said. "In the preseason, we were straight. We had an over front and played Cover 2 behind it the whole game."
Posluszny said the reality was Jacksonville does approach defense with a simple philosophy.
"We keep it simple," he said. "We want to be low on the amount of calls we have and high on our details. Regardless of how we line up, if we can have better technique, better fundamentals, play with lower pads than the opponent, then we can be successful. We do what we do and we try to do it well."
Also on Thursday:
*The Jaguars signed third-year veteran wide receiver Mike Thomas to a three-year contract extension. "I'm definitely excited," Thomas said. "I still have a job to do. It's not really about money to me, but at the same time, I'm grateful and ecstatic that it happened. I still feel like I've got a lot ahead of me, so that's where my focus is. I feel like I've got a lot of getting better to do myself. I want to do great, so that's where my head is."
*Third-year veteran offensive lineman Eben Britton said he doesn't mind his recent move to left guard – and he doesn't mind returning there this week. Britton played right tackle his first two seasons, and after a back injury kept him out of training camp, he has moved to left guard because Guy Whimper has played well at right tackle in his place. "It's fun," he said of left guard. "It is what it is. I'm having fun with it. It's good to be on the field. I'm trying to do the best I can." Asked if he eventually wanted to return to tackle, he said, "It doesn't matter. Tackle feels like home to me, but Guy's doing a great job at right. They don't want to mess with that. I understand that. In a different world, and I wasn't out for nine months with different injuries, maybe it would be a different story. But Guy's doing a great job at right tackle. We're just trying to get the best five on the field."
*Cornerback Derek Cox (groin) and running back Montell Owens (knee) each missed practice for a second consecutive day, and wide receiver Kassim Osgood (hamstring) missed after working on a limited basis on Wednesday. Russell Allen missed a second consecutive day of practice to attend the birth of his child.
*Defensive tackle Tyson Alualu practiced full after being limited Wednesday with a knee injury, while fullback Greg Jones, running back Maurice Jones-Drew and cornerback Rashean Mathis returned to full participation after missing Wednesday for non-injury reasons.
*Safety Courtney Greene (neck) and defensive end Aaron Kampman (knee) were limited for a second consecutive day, while tight end Zach Miller (shoulder) returned to full participation after being limited Wednesday. Left tackle Eugene Monroe practiced full for a second consecutive day after missing Sunday's game with a shoulder injury.
*Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter said a priority offensively remains improving third-down success. The Jaguars are converting 32 percent on third downs, and Koetter said the way to improve is by getting better on first and second downs. "You want to do better on third?" he said. "Do better on first and second. That will get you in more manageable third downs."
*Koetter said the Jaguars' offensive line played well against the Saints, and he said the unit pass-blocked well despite allowing three sacks. "We protected OK," Koetter said. "Even though we had three sacks it wasn't like (quarterback) Blaine (Gabbert) was running for his life."