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Plenty of positives in opener


Jack Del Rio's thoughts Saturday were more on the future than the past.

But because his meeting with the media Saturday was the first since reviewing tape of a 47-12 loss to the New England Patriots Thursday, many of the topics focused on that loss and Del Rio said his assessment hadn't changed much in two days.

No, he didn't like the score. And he didn't like the second half.

And while Del Rio said positives indeed emerged in the preseason opener, there's no question he wants a better result when the team plays host to the Atlanta Falcons in the preseason home opener at EverBank Field Friday at 8 p.m.

"Listen, it's not fun to sit there and look at that," Del Rio said Saturday between the first of two Jaguars 2011 Training Camp practices. "We've got a nice opportunity this week against a real quality opponent. They're coming in, we're going to work with them Wednesday night and we're going to play them Friday night.

"There's a standard here that we're going to hold ourselves to and we expect to play better football, and we'd like to see that get started this week."

Del Rio, who said running back Maurice Jones-Drew (knee) and defensive end Aaron Kampman (knee) will begin practicing Saturday night, also said the two are not expected to play Friday. Pro Bowl tight end Marcedes Lewis is expected to play against the Falcons after sitting out the preseason opener.

Defensive tackle Terrance Knighton also returned to practice Saturday morning after missing the first two weeks of training camp after reporting out of shape.

Del Rio also said linebacker Alvin Bowen has been released and defensive end Jeremy Mincey missed practice to attend a funeral, but is expected to practice Saturday night.

Of the Patriots game, Del Rio said most of the positives came early, and once the team began to take some of the "front-line" players out, "it got a little ragged."

"They understand there's a standard we're looking for," he said. "We weren't very close to that standard. We're not going to lower it. There's a Jaguar way of approaching things."

Del Rio, who said much of Saturday would be spent making corrections, said the defensive line played solidly Thursday, and for the most part, the offensive line did, too.

Del Rio said the offensive line had some communications issues early against New England after veteran center Brad Meester left the game. He was replaced by veteran guard/center Jason Spitz, who signed late last month as a free agent.

The Jaguars also were playing without starting right tackle Eben Britton, and the line allowed three early sacks of rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

"Over the course of time having a healthy Eben will be good for our football team," Del Rio said. "We had a couple communication issues in particular when Brad went out that are going to be easily fixed.  So it really wasn't so much that position breaking down as much as we just had a couple things where a center that's been here a week went the wrong way with a call backer. We had a couple issues that showed up in the game that we feel like we'll be able to get a handle on and resolve fairly quickly."

Del Rio said for the offensive line, the New England game "was actually a pretty good start for us."

"I think we're going to do some things better but some of the emphasis points that have been made they have embraced," he said. "It wasn't a finished product by any means but there were some good things on the tape."

Playing without Kampman and Knighton, the Jaguars did not register a sack Thursday, but Del Rio said the team hit Patriots quarterbacks nine times.

"We had a couple decent rushes and we had some that will need to be better," Del Rio said. "We didn't play the front line very long. In the first half I think they had 35 yards or so rushing, pretty solid against the run. And then as we played some of the guys for an extended period late in the game, as we've already discussed, it wasn't quite as good. Overall I thought it was solid."

Del Rio on Saturday also addressed:

*The Jaguars' depth, an area that some of called into question after the team was outscored 28-3 in the second half: "We feel like we fortified ourselves in several spots. We're just working through camp right now trying to become a football team that maximizes its potential.  I have lots of concerns but none that I would sit here and air publicly. I think for us it's about staying the course, getting things ironed out where there were issues communication-wise, uncertainty, want to eliminate all the gray, play fast and play better and we expect to play better. As we extend the time with the lead guys we expect them to play much better and us have a lot more fun."

*The physical nature of the defense early against New England, particularly creating four opportunities for turnovers. The Jaguars forced three fumbles and had an interception called back by penalty. "We've made an emphasis on defense to get takeaways," Del Rio said. "We started the game, first play with one, and had the ball out several other times. That was a good sign for us. It's been an emphasis throughout the camp and will continue to be an emphasis – to get the ball back for our offense."

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