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Jaguars seek improvement


Linebacker Daryl Smith and wide receiver Jarett Dillard have returned to practice and for the first time in training camp the PUP list is empty, but the Jaguars are still fighting their way through injuries to key players.

"It's good to get a few guys back this week," coach Jack Del Rio said following Monday morning's practice.

Del Rio's team was without its three-highest draft choices of the last two years when the Jaguars lost in Philadelphia on Friday, 28-27, in the preseason opener. Offensive tackles Eugene Monroe (knee) and Eben Britton (calf), the Jaguars' top two picks in 2009, and this year's first-round pick, defensive tackle Tyson Alualu (calf), didn't even make the trip.

Teams are not obligated to provide medical updates on their players during the preseason, so it remains unknown as to when those players will return. Meanwhile, wide receiver Mike Sims-Walker sustained a shoulder injury in Philadelphia that will likely sideline him this week.

"Two of our best defensive linemen and two of our best offensive linemen were not available," Del Rio said. Defensive end Aaron Kampman was held out of action against the Eagles as a precaution; Kampman is recovering from last December's knee surgery.

"The good news is they're getting better and they'll be available soon. The bad news is you lose the continuity. It's not ideal. We're dealing with it the best we can. You have to build that mentality that you've got to move on," Del Rio added.

Training camp will end on Thursday and the Jaguars will host the Miami Dolphins on Saturday. The following week will see the Jaguars go into regular-season mode for game three of the preseason, which traditionally results in the most playing time for starters.

"It'll be a good game to evaluate. Miami is a physical team with a good young quarterback," Del Rio said of this Saturday's game.

Miami is also the team that began the Jaguars' four-game slide that ended the team's playoff hopes last season. Two preseasons ago, it was Miami that put a physical whipping on the Jaguars that produced the first seeds of concern. It was a foreboding.

"We expect them to be sharper in the next opportunity they get," Del Rio said of his first-team offense, which gained only one first down in three series against the Eagles. "I just want to see improvement. We'll start increasing the reps to get a feel for playing longer. I want to see us get sharper. Everything starts to look better when you do that."

It would appear that two of three interior offensive line positions have been settled.

"Brad's (Meester) had a nice start at center. I think Uche's proven he's going to be in one of those (guard) spots. We're looking for the other guy," Del Rio said.

The other guard position would seem to be a battle between Kynan Forney, Justin Smiley and Vince Manuwai.

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