The passing-game woes that dogged the Jaguars all through last week's practices and Friday's preseason-opener loss in Atlanta have moved into their second week. This afternoon, defense dominated to a level of near embarrassment for an offense that has boasted one of the best passing games in the league since 1996.
"Today, nobody was open. We had time. The defense played very well," coach Tom Coughlin told reporters following this afternoon's practice, the Jaguars' first since Friday's 23-13 loss in Atlanta.
The practice included interceptions by Ike Charlton, Jason Craft and Kiwaukee Thomas. Dropped and tipped passes, wildly-thrown passes and miscommunication between quarterbacks and receivers prevailed throughout the afternoon. At one point in the practice Coughlin said in a loud voice: "What do I have to do? Do I have to take the defense off the field for the offense to make a play?"
If the situation has become frustrating for Coughlin, he didn't let it show in his media interview. He remained calm and steady in his approach to the problem of a sputtering pass-offense.
"As far as the pure throwing part of the practice, the defense did a much better job. When you get your hands on it, you've got to catch it," Coughlin said, referring to passes that deflected off receivers hands. Rookie wide receiver Kendall Newson was guilty of the most flagrant example.
Star wide receiver Jimmy Smith remains a training camp holdout and there's no news about a resolution to the contract problem. But Coughlin said Smith alone is not the answer to the offense's problems.
"There are a lot of people out there other than the spot Jimmy would be in," Coughlin said. "It'll get better. This will be a tough night in the film session, but they'll come out tomorrow and do a better job."
The Jaguars practice at 8:40 a.m. and 3:20 p.m. tomorrow. They'll host the Tampa Bay Bucs this Friday night at seven p.m.