Matt Jones is likely to return to the lineup this Sunday when the Jaguars play the Redskins at FedEx Field, and that may be just the boost the Jaguars passing attack needs.
"I think we have good, young, talented guys. The passing game is a lot about timing and precision. I remain optimistic," coach Jack Del Rio said.
Jones played sparingly in this past Sunday's game in Indianapolis and caught no passes. Without a contribution from the tall wide receiver, the Jaguars passing attack slumped. It gained just 107 yards and suffered two interceptions. Of quarterback Byron Leftwich's 16 completions, only five went to wide receivers.
Three games into the season, the passing game is the Jaguars' lowest-performing unit. It's 19th in the league in total yards. The running game is eighth-ranked and the Jaguars are number three against the run and 12th against the pass.
Jones was listed on the Jaguars injury report on Wednesday as "probable" with a groin strain. Jones practiced on Wednesday and Del Rio said "I expect him to play" against the Redskins.
Another player who could give the Jaguars passing game a boost is first-round draft choice Marcedes Lewis, who has been battling a high-ankle sprain since the first preseason game. Lewis did not appear on the injury report on Wednesday.
"He's a guy we envisioned a role for and considered a weapon. We just need to see more health and time in practice," Del Rio said of Lewis.
Lewis' college teammate, second-round pick Maurice Jones-Drew, made a major statement with his performance against the Colts. Jones-Drew became the seventh player in Jaguars history to rush for 100 yards, gaining 103 yards on just 13 carries. He also caught four passes for 32 yards and a touchdown and returned four kickoffs for 109 yards. All of that is likely to earn Jones-Drew more playing time this Sunday.
"We are going to work on finishing drives. We are going to get better as the season goes along," Jones-Drew said.
The Jaguars have scored 47 points in three games, which ties them for 21st in the league in points per game. In contrast, the Jaguars defense is sixth in the league in points allowed per game.
"We've shown an ability to score in the red zone and that ability will improve as the year goes on. We'll look to make sure we're stronger at that as the year goes on," Del Rio said of his offense's points production.