JACKSONVILLE – Gus Bradley said he likes what he sees on defense lately.
On offense, the story is a touch different.
Such is the back-and-forth, day-to-day nature of an NFL training camp, and Bradley – in his first season as the Jaguars' head coach – said on Tuesday while the defensive appears to be making strides in recent days the offense could be more precise.
The offense met as a group following practice, with veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis addressing the unit.
"We have to be better," Bradley said Tuesday after the Jaguars' two-and-a-half-hour, full-padded practice in 88 degree temperatures at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness practice fields adjacent to EverBank Field.
"That's where it goes back to finishing. When the ball is thrown to you, you have to catch it. if it's thrown behind you, the quarterback has to throw a better ball. The game is too hard. It's a precision league. We have to be precise and we're not precise yet.
"That will be the challenge for our guys each and every day. The good thing is it's all under our control. We can take care of it."
Bradley praised a defense that he said for a second consecutive day showed strides in practice after a strong start in a 27-3 loss in the preseason opener to Miami Friday.
"The defense is really improving," Bradley said. "The defense has shown improvement. The aggressive coverage, guys are understanding more and more. We're not doing a lot of stuff defensively, so they're honing in and I think that will pay dividends later on so we can expand our package as guys understand our concepts."
Also Tuesday, wide receiver Cecil Shorts III remained out of practice with a calf strain. Bradley said Shorts could perhaps play this week if it was a regular season game, but because it's Week 2 of the preseason, the team may be cautious with the third-year veteran.
"If it was a normal game, I think he would play," Bradley said. "We'll see how it goes with him."
Offensive right tackle Luke Joeckel also could play if it was a regular-season game, but Bradley said the team will remain cautious. Joeckel has missed the last two practices with a hip flexor.
"We just have to wait and see," Bradley said. "It's day to day. We'll see how good he feels toward the end of the week."
Center Brad Meester and defensive end Jason Babin each had a veterans day off.
The Jaguars are scheduled to hold a walkthrough at the Florida Blue practice fields Monday afternoon. They will practice again at 9:55 a.m. Tuesday.
Running back Justin Forsett missed practice after returning to practice on Monday. Bradley said Forsett, who missed the preseason opener with a sprained toe, didn't sustain a setback as much as he tested the injury Monday and the team opted to be cautious Tuesday. Cornerback Jeremy Harris (back) remained out, as did defensive lineman Brandon Deaderick (groin). Tight end Isaiah Stanback (quadriceps) missed practice, as did linebacker Russell Allen (ankle).
PLAY OF THE DAY
While the offense has struggled at times the last two days, it has received a lift from the return of second-year wide receiver Justin Blackmon.
He made a catch midway through practice Tuesday that stood out.
On the play, Blackmon went deep toward the middle of the field, and quarterback Blaine Gabbert threw a high pass to Blackmon between rookies Johnathan Cyprien and Dwayne Gratz. Blackmon tipped the ball to himself, then pulled the ball in for a one-handed catch as he stepped away from the defense.
1.Chad Henne and Gabbert continued to split repetitions with the first-team offense, with Gabbert starting practice working with the starters.
2.Henne started the day strong with a deep pass to reserve wide receiver Toney Clemons in a team drill midway through practice.
3.Cornerback Marcus Trufant made a nice break on the ball to deflect a sideline pass from Mike Kafka in team drills in the middle of practice.
4.Running back Maurice Jones-Drew made a nice cut and long run through the middle in 9-on-7 midway through practice.
5.Defensive end Jeremy Mincey intercepted a screen pass from Gabbert late in 11-on-11 drills.
6.Rookie safety Josh Evans broke up a pass from Henne to Clemens in 11 on 11.
7.Rookie defensive end Paul Hazel tackle rookie De'Leon Eskridge for a loss in 11 on 11 drills.
8.Quarterback Matt Scott hit wide receiver Jordan Shipley with a long pass down the right sideline in team drills.
1.Bradley: "The big message with this whole week, with our preparation and just day to day, is finishing. I believe we have to learn how to finish. We have to be consistent. That takes some time."
LOOKING ON . . .
*Blackmon has shown again this week why he is key to the Jaguars' offense. Though the unit struggled at times on Monday, Blackmon had three or four receptions that other Jaguars receivers outside Cecil Shorts III don't make routinely. Blackmon has a knack for getting open, and he also controls his body well enough when he's not open to make receptions many other receivers don't make.
*Linebacker LaRoy Reynolds continues this week to show signs he will be a key player this season and in the future. The Jaguars moved Reynolds outside for part of practice Monday with veteran Russell Allen out with an ankle injury, and Reynolds – a rookie free agent from Virginia – continued to make plays. He played with the second-team defense in the preseason opener and also worked with the punt coverage, another strong indication he figures heavily in the Jaguars' plans.