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Defense strong in win


Offense remains the Jaguars' trouble spot, but, oh, that defense. Are we seeing the reincarnation of the 2000 Baltimore Ravens?

"It won't be like that. I promise you that," quarterback Byron Leftwich said, referring to a Ravens team that won the Super Bowl despite not having scored a touchdown in six games that season.

Coach Jack Del Rio wasn't making any promises, other than the Jaguars will continue their efforts to improve an offense that was 29th in the league in scoring last season and is off to a slow start in this year's preseason.

Leftwich and company produced only two first downs in Saturday night's 27-17 win over the Miami Dolphins in the Jaguars' preseason opener at Alltel Stadium. When Leftwich retired to the bench with 10 minutes to play in the second quarter, he had been sacked four times and had completed just three of seven passes for a mere 32 yards.

"Any time you get harassed like that the timing is going to be off and you're not going to throw it and catch as you like," Del Rio said.

What was the problem?

"There were some (blocking) assignment errors, which we will clean up. We've not been a team that gives up a lot of sacks and that's not going to change," Del Rio added.

David Garrard replaced Leftwich at quarterback in the second quarter and Garrard got a touchdown on a pass that deflected off Reggie Williams' hands and into Ernest Wilford's, but that wasn't exactly a high moment for the offense, either, unless you factor in Wilford's hustle. Del Rio did.

Then there was the matter of a dropped pass by star wide receiver Jimmy Smith, who has been experiencing a rare rash of drops this summer.

"Jimmy's a professional. He's been a good player for a long time. I don't think he'd be happy he had a drop," Del Rio said.

It was Quinn Gray and the third-team offense that was most productive. Gray marched the Jaguars 80 yards in five plays in the fourth quarter, Gray capping the drive with a five-yard touchdown pass to first-round draft choice Matt Jones, who caught three passes for 45 yards.

The big play in the drive was a 48-yard reception by rookie wide receiver Chad Owens, who caught the ball as it deflected off the Miami defensive back.

Meanwhile, the Jaguars defense played up to expectations. It held the Dolphins to a harmless 110 yards of total offense in the first half, as the Jaguars moved out to a 14-3 lead. It wasn't until the game was out of reach at 27-3 that the Dolphins offense did any damage.

"Winning is great and that's what we're about," Del Rio said when asked if his Jaguars reminded him of the 2000 Ravens, for which Del Rio was the linebackers coach. "They don't give you an asterisk if it's by more points. They just give you a W or an L. We're doing what we can on offense. We want to be solid in all three phases."

The Jaguars were certainly solid in the special teams phase against the Dolphins. Veteran David Allen opened the scoring with a 76-yard touchdown return of a Matt Turk punt in the first quarter, and Josh Scobee and Seth Marler converted chip-shot field-goal attempts in the third quarter.

"We didn't turn the ball over and we got some takeaways," Del Rio said, referring to a fumble recovery by linebacker Tony Gilbert and an interception by cornerback Chris Thompson. "We were better on third down and we were strong on defense on third down.

"All the backs ran hard. Some of the young wide-outs really showed up," he said.

But offense remains the fly in the Jaguars' ointment.

"It's way too early to panic," Leftwich said.

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