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Saturday primer: Bradley seeking precision

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JACKSONVILLE – The search for precision continues.

So does the search for a certain something that turns losses into victories, and it's the last part Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley wants to see.

Yes, the Jaguars have been more competitive in the last four games of the 2014 regular season than in the first four games, and yes, the Jaguars have improved significantly in many, many ways.

But there still have been too many missing pieces too often, which leaves Bradley wanting more as the team enters perhaps its most difficult stretch of the season.

"There are so many areas we've improved on," Bradley said as the Jaguars (1-7) prepared to play the AFC North-leading Cincinnati Bengals (4-2-1) at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sunday at 1 p.m. "We talked about that earlier this week. I think the attention to detail, the precision that's needed … I think I am sensing some of that on the defensive side."

The Jaguars will travel directly from Cincinnati to London, England, where they will play host to the Dallas Cowboys (6-2) November 9 at Wembley Stadium. After a bye week, they will visit the AFC South-leading Indianapolis Colts (5-3).

The Jaguars enter the stretch having made strides defensively, allowing 11.25 points per game— and not allowing more than 16 offensive points – in that span. The unit has registered 25 sacks in eight games, and played perhaps its best game of the season last week against Miami despite playing without middle linebacker Paul Posluszny, defensive end Andre Branch and cornerback Alan Ball.

Offensively, the focus remains the maturation process of a young unit playing at least six rookie front-line players most weeks.

One of those rookies is quarterback Blake Bortles, who has thrown six touchdowns and 12 interceptions since moving into the starting lineup in Week 3. Four of Bortles' interceptions have been returned for touchdowns, including two last week that were the difference in a 27-13 loss to Miami.

Bortles said following the Miami game his mistakes were "killing" the Jaguars, and although he reiterated the point Wednesday, players and coaches this week focused more on finishing drives and eliminating mistakes.

The Jaguars have moved efficiently at times in recent weeks, with their first five drives Sunday ending inside the Dolphins 40 while producing just three points. Bradley said while he senses the offense gaining the detail and precision needed, he said a higher level must be reached.

"I do sense some of it on the offensive side," Bradley said. "I just think at critical times we just need to get over the hump that way. I am seeing at times both sides along with special teams are doing it on a consistent basis. That's what I hope to see."

The Jaguars enter the weekend with offensive tackle Luke Joeckel expected to play after practicing fill on Friday. He missed Wednesday's practice after sustaining a concussion against Miami, but has been cleared to play.

Also, rookie Jeremiah George – signed from the New York Jets' practice squad September 23 – could make his first NFL start at middle linebacker. J.T. Thomas, who started at middle linebacker last week with Paul Posluszny moved to injured reserve with a torn pectoral, could return to the Otto linebacker position where he started Weeks 4-7.

A look at coverage of Jaguars-Bengals this week on jaguars.com …



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