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Jaguars facing criticism


Coach Jack Del Rio wants his players to block out fan and media criticism and focus on improving their performance.

"When you're 0-2, there are a lot of naysayers that'll have their opinions, but we can't pay attention to that," Del Rio told reporters on Monday, a day after his team suffered a 31-17 loss to the Arizona Cardinals in the Jaguars' home-opener. "If we had started 2-0, we wouldn't be getting these questions."

Primary among questions Del Rio faced on Monday was: Will David Garrard remain the team's starting quarterback?

"David's our starting quarterback," Del Rio said.

Garrard has a 72.7 passer rating two weeks into the season. He was sacked four times on Sunday, one of which resulted in a lost fumble, yet, Garrard said he had "plenty of time to throw" and Del Rio said "I thought he got better pass-protection than he did last week."

Failures on offense were not at the core of the coach's concern on Monday. He was clearly angry at this defense's poor tackling against the Cardinals.

"Yards after the catch were a big emphasis heading into this week and we didn't handle it well. You can't get better on defense if you can't (tackle). We'll be better," Del Rio said.

Del Rio added that the Jaguars correctly anticipated a three-step passing attack by the Cardinals that put a premium on tackling by the Jaguars.

The Jaguars made several personnel moves on Monday:

• Wide receiver Nate Hughes, who dropped potential touchdown passes on consecutive plays, was cut. He's a candidate to be re-signed to the practice squad. Tight end Greg Estandia, who was guilty of a procedure penalty, was also released.

• Rookie cornerback William Middleton was signed off Atlanta's practice squad and rookie free-agent safety Courtney Greene was also signed.

Del Rio said the team was awaiting medical reports on the condition of wide receiver Troy Williamson's right shoulder. It has been speculated that Williamson may have sustained a season-ending torn labrum.

In other words, a young roster just got younger but Del Rio refuses to use the massive personnel turnover the Jaguars have undergone as an excuse for losing.

"That's taboo," he said. "I don't know a coach in the profession that would concede on that point. I'm going to remain committed to this football team and expect it to play better."

The Jaguars had four rookies in the starting lineup for the second consecutive week: Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton at the offensive tackle positions, Derek Cox at cornerback and Terrance Knighton at defensive tackle.

"Two weeks into the season, you can see the talent is there, but they also have a lot of work to do. They have bright futures," Del Rio said.

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