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The Jaguars held their final two practices today in preparation for Sunday's preseason opener against the Carolina Panthers in ALLTEL Stadium. The morning practice was conducted in a steady rain.

"It was a good practice, much better than anything else we could have done," said head coach Tom Coughlin. "We played our Cincinnati game last year in a rainstorm, so you play regardless of how the weather is. So it's not necessarily a bad day when the weather goes bad."

Coughlin talked about the team's goal to balance the offense this season by running more. "We had a 55-45 run-pass ratio down the stretch last season, and that's about where we want it. Our offensive line has to continue to develop the mentality to run the ball. I think we have the ingredients. But you also have to rely on your running back to make something happen."

Sunday's game marks the third meeting between the Jaguars and Panthers, two of them in the preseason. With both teams regarded as division favorites and Super Bowl contenders in only their third season, Coughlin said, "That's a great tribute to both teams. But it's an on-going challenge. For those of us involved in it, we see the bright spots, but we also see there's a way to go."

The team has a walk-through on Saturday that is be closed to the media. Kickoff for the game against the Panthers is 3:00. Gates will open at 1:30.


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