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Del Rio looking for progress


In the emotion of the moment, Jack Del Rio regrettably misspoke.

"If there was one flaw, it was that I intimated change on my part. I believe very much in what we do and how we do it. We just need to do things better; play better," Del Rio told reporters on Tuesday, three days after making postgame remarks that suggested he had "to do something different" in the way he prepared the team to play.

The only thing different this week is that the Jaguars have shifted from a preseason mode to a regular-season preparation routine.

"This is our simulation of a game week. We want our players to understand how we do things in a typical game week," Del Rio said.

Hopefully, the preparation will result in a performance that is significantly better than what the Jaguars showed last Saturday in a 19-14 loss to the Dolphins. In Tampa this Saturday, the Jaguars want to regain their stride and play to the level of the team's heightened expectations for this season.

It isn't all about winning and losing. This is the preseason and preseason records mean nothing when the regular season begins. What's important is the performance.

"A reflection of the work we put in," Del Rio said of what he looks for in the preseason. "It's never going to be as crisp as you'd like and you understand that, but you'd like to see progress on the things you're working on; building trust, accountability.

"There's evaluation of talent. Obviously, you want to come out of games healthy and you want to improve. There's a grit and resolve I want as a coach and that's what I want to see," Del Rio added.

Game three of the preseason is traditionally the most intense of the four. Starters will play longer than in any of the other three preseason games. Judgments will be made based on this game; this was the game last summer that resulted in Byron Leftwich being cut and David Garrard ascending to the starting quarterback job.

Now it is Garrard who is being criticized by fans for last Saturday's goose egg. Garrard will certainly be under the microscope against the Bucs.

"David is a terrific football player. He's had a strong camp. He'd feel and we'd feel a whole lot better if he had hit Mike (Walker) down the field," Del Rio said.

Garrard would seem to be on the verge of getting at least one offensive weapon back. Starting wide receiver Reggie Williams is nearing a return to action following knee surgery a couple of weeks ago. "Hopefully, before the week is out," Del Rio said.

There was no update on when starting wide receiver Jerry Porter might return to action. Porter underwent hamstring surgery in July.

Wide receiver Ryan Hoag is making a move on a roster spot. In limited action, Hoag has caught three passes for 71 yards.

"He's a longshot but every time you look up, he's making a play. He's a force on special teams. I've shown, over the years, that we are open-minded and we're not afraid to keep them," Del Rio said of Hoag and longshot players.

One of the major issues on offense for this game is the performance of left tackles Khalif Barnes and Richard Collier. Garrard was under a heavy rush in the Dolphins game and was hit several times after throwing passes.

"Rich played well. Khalif is our starter right now but Rich played better. He has to sustain that to make a run at (the job)," Del Rio said.

On defense, the Jaguars have regained the services of defensive end Reggie Hayward, who had been out of action since injuring a hamstring in the Aug. 1 intrasquad scrimmage. Hayward returned to practice on Monday and it's expected he'll play in Tampa.

Another defensive end of interest is second-round draft choice Quentin Groves, who struggled in run-defense against the Dolphins.

"We're not going to ask him to play between tackles and tight ends. It's a good experience for him to have to do some dirty work. We'll do a better job of putting him into situations in which he can flourish. The speed he brings off the edge is going to help our defense," Del Rio said of Groves, who was drafted to be a pass-rusher.

Del Rio didn't play his starters in the final preseason game of last season, but he sounded on Tuesday as though he plans to give his starters playing time in game four this year, which will be in Washington on Thurs., Aug. 28.

"I suspect we'll play a little more in the fourth game. My plan is to play our guys more in the preseason. We backed down a little bit in camp. Part of that plan was to play a little more in the preseason," Del Rio said.

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