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Jags ready to start preseason


The Jaguars would like to use Monday night's preseason opener in Miami as the Dolphins used last year's preseason game in Jacksonville: as a springboard to a successful season.

"I thought, last year, Miami handled us in the trenches. That was the foundation of their turnaround last year and it started here in Jacksonville," coach Jack Del Rio said following Saturday morning's practice.

The Dolphins were coming off a one-win year last season when they shocked the football world with a run to the playoffs that was driven by an offensive formation that took the league by storm. Don't expect the Jaguars to run the "wildcat" on Monday, but expectations are for the Jaguars to be much improved at the line of scrimmage.

With the arrival of first-round draft choice Eugene Monroe on Friday, the Jaguars can fully begin their rebuilding effort on the offensive line. Monroe won't start at left tackle against the Dolphins, but Del Rio said there's a chance he will play.

The Jaguars selected Monroe and right tackle Eben Britton with the team's first two draft picks this past spring, signaling a focused effort to fix what was broken a year ago. Now, on the heels of last year's 5-11 disappointment, the Jaguars hope to lay the foundation of a more physical performance along the line of scrimmage with a strong effort in Miami.

"I like the way things are going. We're a few feet off the ground and we have a mountain to climb. It's going to take a total commitment," Del Rio said after Saturday morning's practice was shortened by an approaching thunderstorm.

Del Rio said quarterback David Garrard will play the first quarter, "maybe a little more. We're going to play all three quarterbacks."

On the injury front, wide receiver Mike Walker (ankle) won't play on Monday. Fullback Montell Owens (knee), wide receiver Mike Thomas (hamstring) and defensive tackle Jonathan Lewis (ankle) will also be held out of action.

Jaguars rookies will be the featured performers on Monday.

"The number one thing you want to see in young players is how they respond to a live NFL game environment. Out here, you know your teammates, their mannerisms. In a preseason game, you don't have a scouting report. A young guy has to adjust to the speed of the game," General Manager Gene Smith said.

"I'm just excited that I even have a chance to play in an NFL game. I plan to play hard and let people see if I can play the game of football," undrafted rookie defensive end Julius Williams said.

Third-round pick Derek Cox was asked if he knew the names of any of the players on the Dolphins. Who's the quarterback, he was asked?

"That's Pennington, right?" he said.

Let the youth movement begin.

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