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Jaguars Friday: "They deserve the opportunity to win…"


JACKSONVILLE – All that had to get done got done.

Jaguars Head Coach Urban Meyer on Friday morning met with the media for a final time before the regular-season home opener – and yes, he said, necessary corrections in preparation for Sunday have been made.

Friday's work was what Meyer said the Jaguars call a "day before day before" or "fast Fridays," emphasizing no errors and practicing quickly.

"It's been good," Meyer said as the Jaguars (0-1) prepared to play the Denver Broncos (1-0) at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 1 p.m. "I like our routine."

Among the possible corrections:

Achieving better balance offensively. The Jaguars rushed 16 times in a 37-21 loss to the Houston Texans Sunday, with rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence completing 28 of 51 passes for 332 yards and three touchdowns with three interceptions.

"I've always been a 50-50 person; that's our goal," Meyer said. "Sitting in 20 years of defensive meetings, you can stop the run, you can stop the pass; it's hard to stop both."

Contributing to the Week 1 lack of balance: Not only a late double-digit deficit, but multiple first-half penalties including three for illegal formation and four holding penalties Meyer called "heartbreaking."

"Obviously that's something you work through in practice," Meyer said, calling holding penalties "the second-worst penalty in football, the first being hold or block in the back on KOR (kickoff returns). Holds just knock you out of rhythm. It's something we're addressing. We watch it closely. We turn it in to the league and get our results back and coach through it."

Meyer added that the team examined a holding penalty on center Brandon Linder, which negated a 12-yard run by running back James Robinson.

"I'm never going to challenge officials publicly, but we took a close look at the one on Linder," Meyer said. "We don't coach it much different than what he did."

Meyer said reducing holding penalties will be a particular focus Sunday, with the Broncos featuring two high-level pass rushers – Von Miller and Bradley Chubb. Meyer called the challenge of Denver's defensive front, "About as big there is."

"They don't pressure a lot, because they let the dogs eat and they can eat," he said. "Their inside guys are decent, too. It's a good defensive front."

Also on Friday:

  • Meyer discussed veteran tight end Chris Manhertz, who signed as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason and whose first reception with the Jaguars was a 22-yard touchdown against Houston – rookie quarterback Trevor Lawrence's first touchdown pass. While Manhertz was considered by many primarily a blocking tight end, Meyer said, "We thought he would be [an effective receiver]. He's a guy who didn't actually play college or high school. It's an amazing story. He's a grinder, a worker. He has good hands. He's a former basketball player. He's an elite blocker, but we think he can be very functional at receiver." …
  • Meyer said cornerback Tre Herndon, who missed the Houston loss with a medial collateral ligament injury, could return next week against the Arizona Cardinals. Herndon returned to practice limited Thursday. "We're hoping next week," Meyer said. …
  • Meyer on second-year defensive end K'Lavon Chaisson: "From my understanding, he's one of the most-improved guys. He's a first-round draft pick who works his butt off. I really didn't appreciate him [previously]. He's not where he needs to be, but you get there through one way and that's working. I have a lot of respect for the way he's going about his business." …
  • Meyer on whether the Jaguars' 16-game losing streak – which dates to a 15-game streak to end last season – can affect players mentally: 'We can't let that happen. When I made the decision to come here … I just like the core players. I really do. They deserve the opportunity to go win and we're working our 'you-know-whats' off to do that. We brought in some good free agents and we drafted some good players, so no ... we're not going to fall into that trap."

WEEK 2 · Sun 09/19 · 1:00 PM EDT


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