JACKSONVILLE – A day later, Gus Bradley emphasized the good.
While the Jaguars' head coach said much improvement is necessary from a second consecutive loss to start the preseason, he also said there were significant encouraging signs in a loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Saturday.
"There were a lot of positives that took place," Bradley said Sunday, a day after the Jaguars took a seven-point first-half lead before losing 27-21 at EverBank Field in the preseason home opener.
"Overall, other than the outcome, pleased with the first group."
One encouraging non-game related sign:
Offensive tackle Kelvin Beachum, expected to compete for the starting left tackle position, continues to progress in his return from a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained with the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 6 last season.
Bradley said Beachum could be active for Sunday's Week 3 preseason game against the Cincinnati Bengals.
"Our hope is that everything goes smooth in practice this week, so he has a chance to play on Sunday," Bradley said. "We will see. He has made really good progress. He got some practice reps. His confidence level is there. We hope everything falls into place this week."
Beachum is expected to compete with Luke Joeckel at left tackle, with Joeckel representing another positive from Saturday's game. Bradley called the game "Luke's most physical game that he's played as a Jag."
"He did a really nice job," Bradley said of Joeckel. "He showed up and really attempted to be physical. I think sometimes people will play more physical when they really understand the assignments and their jobs. He's on it now. That part of the game, I think, has really picked up for him. He did a good job in protection and in the run game."
It's expected that Beachum or Joeckel will start at left tackle with the other player starting alongside at left guard.
"We're in a good position, as far as that's concerned," Bradley said.
Photos from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers vs. the Jacksonville Jaguars in week two of the preseason.
Bradley said the first-team offensive line overall "did a great job up front" Saturday blocking for both the run and pass, adding that the running backs have had more room to cut thus far in the preseason compared with the past three seasons.
"As a group, they are playing pretty well," Bradley said of the line. "They are playing pretty well at the line of scrimmage and the second level, but there are a lot of areas of improvement. We talked to the receiver group about what more they could do, as far as blocking downfield, to help the run game. We are getting into the finer details with the run game now. They understand the big picture and how it is going to be put together. Now it is just those intricacies, I think, that can help us take another step forward this week."
Bradley also said upon reviewing the game he liked the play of the first-team defense, which held Tampa Bay scoreless on two drives.
"I thought third down showed up again as well," he said. "On the year, the two preseason games, I think we're 76 percent on third down, which is a good sign that some of the emphasis in practice is paying off at least in preseason."
Also on Sunday:
*Bradley, as he did Saturday, praised the play of quarterback Blake Bortles, who completed 8 of 11 passes for 85 yards and two touchdowns against the Buccaneers. "I'm really pleased with his consistency and decision-making," Bradley said. "Those are two facets that we pointed to in the offseason and into training camp. He's put two games together where he's made good decisions for us. I'm pleased on that." …
*Bradley reiterated the need to reduce mistakes following 13 penalties for 121 yards against the Buccaneers in the wake of 12 penalties for 132 yards in the preseason opener. He called the offense's four turnovers Saturday in the second, third and fourth quarter "far too many." "That comes back to decision making," he said. …
*Bradley also said again that rookie cornerback Jalen Ramsey played well in his NFL debut. The No. 5 overall selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, Ramsey led the first-team unit with three tackles. "He does some really good things," Bradley said, adding "the big thing with Jalen is he's got really, really good poise." …
*Bradley said second-year Leo end Dante Fowler Jr. had good pursuit on an early run play and added a hit on quarterback Jameis Winston. "His effort still jumps up out at you," Bradley said. …
*Bradley said veteran defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks "showed up on film" against the Buccaneers – and that while Marks isn't technically a starter "I don't really look at him as a backup. We talk in terms of, 'We are going to need you all.' We have two groups." …