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Seeking efficiency


As Jack Del Rio sees it, the objective is clear.

And when it comes to the offense, Jaguars quarterback David Garrard said Tuesday he pretty much has the same thoughts as the third preseason game approaches:

A touchdown or two would be a good thing – a very, very good thing.

"Offensively, we have the need to be much cleaner, much sharper," Del Rio said Tuesday as the Jaguars (1-1 in the preseason) prepared to play the Buffalo Bills (0-2) in a preseason game at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y., Saturday at 7 p.m.

"We need to get in the end zone. We've not been nearly efficient enough. We're trying to remain patient as we're going through things, but it's time to get things going."

Del Rio, entering his ninth season as the Jaguars' coach, touched on a number of issues as he spoke with the media Tuesday at EverBank Field with a particular focus on improving offensive efficiency, something Garrard discussed earlier following a two-and-half-hour practice.

"We've really got to establish a rhythm offensively, put points on the board, move the ball, convert third downs, just everything," Garrard said. "Everything you want to do in a ball game we've got to continue to show that we can do that."

The Jaguars through two preseason games have scored one touchdown – a 12-yard touchdown pass from third-team quarterback Luke McCown to rookie free-agent wide receiver Armon Binns in the fourth quarter against Atlanta Friday.

"We need more efficiency offensively and certainly, the trigger man plays a large role in that," Del Rio said. "It all ties together. It's a team game we play – the timing of the routes with the receivers and the protection up front, the quarterback making good decisions and delivering the ball – it all comes together and then you're able to do things offensively . . . when you have that timing, it looks beautiful."

Del Rio said considering the veteran nature of the Jaguars' offense more should be expected from the unit this season – and sooner rather than later.

"We're doing some things better," Del Rio said. "We've been in camp long enough and we have the same system, the same quarterback, the same players – we should expect to play at a higher level. I expect us to play at a higher level. Now would be a good time. . . .

"We should be more efficient. We should be operating at a higher level, in my opinion. It's time to pick it up."

Rookie first-round selection Blaine Gabbert started the preseason opener, completing 9 of 16 passes for 85 yards in the first half of a 47-12 loss to New England. Garrard, out Week 1 with a back injury, then started Week 2, completing 7 of 12 passes in the first quarter of a 15-13 victory over Atlanta Friday.

Gabbert played most of the second and third quarters against Atlanta, completing 11 of 23 passes for 96 yards. The Jaguars scored four field goals against New England, then had three field goals in the first three quarters against Atlanta.

Del Rio said the team's stance remains what it has been throughout the off-season and training camp – that Garrard is the team's starting quarterback. Del Rio was asked if he looked at the Buffalo game as a chance for Garrard to tune up for the regular season.

"I look at that as our team is tuning up; it's not just David Garrard and it's not any one player," Del Rio said. "As a football team we need to begin to play as a team and play better football and have it all come together for us. Last week we saw some encouraging signs. This week, we need to see more of them throughout our football team."

Garrard said he believed the offense moved well in the first quarter against Atlanta, when he led one field-goal drive with two drives ending in turnovers – a fumbled exchange between he and rookie wide receiver Cecil Shorts and a long interception on a pass to veteran wide receiver Mike Thomas.

"Last week, we were actually moving the ball great," Garrard said. "I thought we were moving the ball just fine. We stalled in the red zone that one time. We can't have those turnovers, but like I said after the game I felt great.

"I felt like I was really clicking, but we've got to put points on the board."

Garrard said red-zone offense will be a focus against the Bills.

"When we get into the red zone, coming out with six and seven points, not three," Garrard said. "We know [Josh] Scobee can do his job and hit those field goals, but we want to come out with touchdowns. That's where we've got to continue to get better. I've got to continue to find the guys that I know are going to put points on the board. That's my job, so that's what we want to do in this game, converting third downs as well.

"I felt like we did a pretty good job with that in the past game. Like I said, we were moving the ball great, we've just got to finish the drives with seven points."

Del Rio said the team has yet to finalize playing time for the Buffalo game, but said he expects starters to play into the third quarter. The Jaguars are approaching the game with the traditional approach to the third preseason game – i.e., game-planning during the week and generally keeping to the same schedule and preparation as for a regular season game.

"Every time you get to this stage you know you're closer to that day where you'll be kicking off the regular season," Del Rio said.

Del Rio Tuesday also said:

*Running back Maurice Jones-Drew and defensive end Aaron Kampman will not play against Buffalo Sunday, but likely will play in the preseason finale on Thursday, September 1 against St. Louis. Neither has played this preseason after sustaining season-ending knee injuries last year.

*He expects rookie safety Chris Prosinski to play Saturday. The fourth-round selection from Wyoming has missed the first two preseason games with a hamstring injury. "All indications are he's handling the workload," he said. "As long as he doesn't have any setbacks, he should be ready to go." Prosinski entering camp had been in a position to compete with veteran Courtney Greene for a starting role. "Losing time, it's not impossible," Del Rio said. "I just think he has a lot of ground to cover. We're running out of time in terms of we'd like to settle in to who our guys are going to be. It's more of a challenge after missing the time, certainly, than had he gone through camp and been able to get the reps."

*The team is happy with the play of veteran linebacker Paul Posluszny three weeks after he signed as a free agent from Buffalo. "We love having him," he said. "We feel like he's a great fit for us. He's a playmaker at linebacker. He shows up around the ball, always. He has great energy. He's a good fit for us."

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