JACKSONVILLE – Doug Pederson saw some of what he wanted to see Saturday.
He wants to see more.
Pederson, in his first season as the Jaguars' head coach, outlined two key areas for the offense to show progress when he sat down with the preseason broadcast crew late last week before a 16-15 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers Saturday in a Preseason Week 2 game at TIAA Bank Field.
One was for the Jaguars to improve on third down. The other was improving in the red zone. The first-team offense accomplished the first by converting five of eight third downs but managed just one field goal on one red-zone possession.
"Yeah, not good enough," Pederson said Saturday night. "We've got to finish drives with scores. That's something we talk about and work on quite a bit with the red zone, and we've just got to keep working. The offense understands that one, we've got to run the football in the red zone. We tried to do that tonight, and that wasn't good enough.
"We've just got to keep plugging away and look at it and get better and make sure we get the right guys in there and get ready here in a couple weeks."
The Jaguars starters were sharp against the Cleveland Browns in Preseason Week 1. They played better at times against the Steelers except for a few key plays that prevented real progress.
"I wouldn't say it's time to worry about it," wide receiver Christian Kirk said. "We have a long way to go to be super-effective and that's our goal, to be one of the elite teams in the league. We have to be critical of ourselves when we turn on the film and be really hard on ourselves going into Atlanta this week."
- The retooled Jaguars defensive front overpowered the Steelers Saturday, offering a glimpse of why the unit expects to be among the NFL's best in 2022. Outside linebackers Josh Allen, Travon Walker and K'Lavon Chaisson attacked the pocket from the edge while defensive linemen Foley Fatukasi, Roy Robertson-Harris and DaVon Hamilton shoved the offensive line back into quarterback Mitch Trubisky forcing quick and errant throws.
- The Jaguars also held the Steelers to eight first-half rushing yards. "We've come a long way," defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot of a run defense that was good at times in 2021 but allowed 125 yards a game and 22 rushing touchdowns. "We're way more gap sound than we've been in the past and we're focused on stopping the run so that we can unleash our pass rush and we've got some really talented pass rushers."
- The Jaguars' ability to pressure the quarterback with four – without bringing extra pressure – should create opportunities for big plays, which has that side of the ball energized as the regular season approaches. "We're about ready for the start of the regular season," said second-year cornerback Tyson Campbell, who turned in one of Saturday's highlight plays when he took down Steelers wide receiver George Pickens and brought the crowd to its feet. "We were just having fun out there. I could tell all 11 of us were playing together and having fun and that's going to take us a long way."
- Quarterback Trevor Lawrence: "I'd say just we want to score more touchdowns. Got to improve there. You've seen our ability to drive the ball and time of possession and keep drives going has been great, and that's something that's really going to help us throughout the season, but in order to win these games you've got to score more points."
- Kirk: "I thought we were effective; we have been effective throughout training camp. Tonight, we were good but we can take another step and we can be better. The third-down stuff carries into the red zone as well. We need to keep moving forward."
- Smoot: "We're working at it every day. Just looking at what we did tonight, what we've done in the preseason I'd say that I can't wait to see what we do in Washington on Opening Day."
- Campbell on Lawrence’s reaction to Campbell’s hit on Pickens: "I saw it on my phone, I thought it was pretty cool. I saw the Trevor reaction and it was pretty funny so shout out to Trevor, 'Appreciate you.'"
From pregame events to in-game action and postgame Jersey swaps, these moments are what make watching a Jaguars game at TIAA Bank Field unmatched. Swipe through to view a visual story of the Jaguars 2022 Preseason Week 2 game against the Steelers.