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Looking for guys to count on


Looking back, Jack Del Rio saw some things that were good and some that weren't – all in all, about what you'd expect from a first scrimmage.

Del Rio, the Jaguars' head coach, said after reviewing the tape from the team's scrimmage on Saturday night that for the most part, the team's starting units played well. He wasn't as pleased with the backups, and said that was a theme when he addressed the team Monday morning.

"I challenged them this morning," Del Rio said Monday morning after the first of two Jaguars 2011 Training Camp practices. "I said, 'We're looking for some guys we can count on. It got a little ragged in the second and third group.'

"There will be guys who lock in and give us what we're looking for, and guys who don't. We need that part to look sharper."

Del Rio said starter David Garrard's back continues to improve. He has been out since sustaining a back injury last Thursday, and Del Rio said it's not yet known if Garrard will play against New England in Thursday's preseason opener, although with three days remaining, that doesn't seem likely.

If Garrard doesn't play Thursday, rookie first-round selection Blaine Gabbert – who took snaps with the starting unit Saturday – likely will start.

"We'll work through that," Del Rio said.

Discussing the scrimmage, Del Rio said in particular he liked the play of the starting offensive and defensive lines, and particularly praised defensive tackle Tyson Alualu and offensive tackle Eugene Monroe.

"I think we're taking steps in the right direction," he said. "It's still awfully early, and there's still an awful lot to do."

Del Rio said Monroe entered camp "as fit as we've seen him and as focused as we've seen him. He has a couple of years maturity and he's having a nice camp."

Eben Britton, the Jaguars' starting right tackle who missed the last 11 games last season with a shoulder injury, "is a little slower coming along," Del Rio said.

"With his injury, it's not unexpected," Del Rio said of Britton. "He's a little more rusty, but the (offensive line) room, the approach with (offensive line coach) Andy Heck, it's trending in the right direction."

Del Rio also said defensive tackle D'Anthony Smith, after missing his rookie season last season with an Achilles injury, has "gotten a little better each day."

"He's getting back, playing with a better base, getting off the ball, pad level," Del Rio said. "He has some explosiveness. "

Del Rio's highest praise Monday was for Alualu, the No. 10 overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft who has impressed coaches throughout this year's training camp with his progress since last season.

"He was pretty good last year," Del Rio said. "He has been very good (in camp). He has been very strong, very stout, very sure of the things he needs to do. He's been very proactive. He'll be a force for us. There's very little doubt about that one."

Also Monday:

*Offensive lineman Kevin Haslam will be placed on injured reserve with medial collateral ligament damage in his knee sustained in Saturday's scrimmage. "We'll definitely need another guy," Del Rio said, adding that while Haslam is versatile – having played guard, tackle and backup tight end – he wasn't guaranteed to make the roster.

*Jaguars Defensive Line Coach Joe Cullen said defensive tackle Terrance Knighton is getting close to practicing. He reported overweight and has been working on the side. "He's getting closer," Cullen said. "He's getting there." Cullen said when Knighton is at his best weight he plays around 330 or 335 pounds, and declined to discuss Knighton's current weight specifically.

*Del Rio said he was unconcerned about the Jaguars' wide receiver group following the scrimmage – despite no one aside from veteran Mike Thomas 'jumping out.' "Especially since we didn't allow a couple to 'jump out' play by plan,'' Del Rio said. "We had a couple inactive that we think can jump out."

*Rookie wide receiver Cecil Shorts is "day-to-day" with what Del Rio said is a soft-tissue injury, perhaps a hip flexor. Del Rio said he has a chance to play Thursday. "It's not major," Del Rio said. "We basically backed him down before it became an issue. With 90 guys, we're being proactive in doing that. Where we can back down guys prior to them blowing it out and missing three or four weeks, we're trying to do that. My coach didn't do that for me when I was playing, but it's a new era. We have to do these things, because we have to arrive at the regular season with our best guys at their healthiest. We have to prepare, but we're doing all we can to be proactive."

*S Chris Prosinski remains day-to-day and Del Rio said the goal is to get him ready to play Thursday.

*The Jaguars released an unofficial depth chart with their game release for the New England game, with one notable entry Jason Spitz being listed at left guard over rookie Will Rackley. Rackley has been working with the starters. "Typically what we do with our early depth chart is we don't put any rookies with the first team," Del Rio said. "We start there." Del Rio said if any rookie were worthy of being listed as first team this season it would be Rackley. "He's certainly done a nice job to start camp," Del Rio said. "We've got time to work that out."

*Del Rio said he expects Spitz to work at both right and left guard, as well as center. "He can do all three interior spots," Del Rio said. "We have a number of guys on our team who can do all three interior spots."

*Del Rio said rookie DuJuan Harris has looked good running, but like most rookie running backs, must work on blitz pickup, routes and blocking. "When he's got the ball in his hands, he can do some things," Harris said. "It's the other part of the game that he's got to work at, which is understandable."

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