The Jaguars won the game but suffered a couple of injuries that were clearly a concern for head coach Jack Del Rio as he met with reporters following his team's 31-19 win over the visiting Tampa Bay Bucs.
First-round draft choice Reggie Nelson and second-year defensive tackle Tony McDaniel left the field with what appear to be significant leg injuries. Nelson sustained a sprained ankle in the first half and McDaniel suffered a sprained knee in the second half. Both players had to be helped from the field to the team's locker room.
"These guys will likely miss a little time," Del Rio said of Nelson and McDaniel. "Chris Naeole, we think he's going to be OK."
Naeole limped off the field in the first half with a sprained knee. He wasn't nearly as hobbled as Nelson and McDaniel.
Those injuries marred an otherwise fun night for the Jaguars, who started slowly on offense but uncovered a couple of impressive receivers as the night wore on.
Charles Sharon would seem to be the big winner of the night. He caught three passes for 54 yards and his first catch of the evening, a leaping grab along the Tampa sideline in the second quarter, made an impression on Del Rio.
"That's the one thing that stuck out," Del Rio said.
Sharon was the Jaguars' star of spring drills and he's making a move to become the team's star receiver of the preseason, too. It's a move that could land him a roster spot, or maybe even more.
"He's making plays," quarterback Byron Leftwich said of Sharon. "Chuck got this swagger about him."
Sharon is an adept route-runner and his best routes are the quick-out and curl. "I haven't seen anybody be able to stop like that since Jimmy (Smith)," Leftwich said.
Broussard, a seventh-round draft choice who may be the Jaguars' most impressive rookie, caught two passes for 29 yards and continues to display a polish to his game that few expected.
"I'm just trying to make the 53. I've taken the coaches by surprise but I haven't surprised myself," said Broussard, a speedster who's proving football is for skinny people, too.
"I think I'm competing for a spot on the team, but I'd be grateful for a starting spot," Sharon said. "I still have to prove myself. That's the goal every day."
The Jaguars' offense has been in a prove-it mode through training camp and, for the most part, Leftwich and company have done just that. Saturday evening, the offense got off to a slow start, as Leftwich was two of six for just 12 yards in the first quarter against the Bucs' number one defense, and the Jags trailed 7-0.
Maurice Jones-Drew changed everything early in the second quarter, when he took a five-yard pass from Leftwich and turned it into a 38-yard gain to the Tampa two-yard line. Fred Taylor scored on the next play.
Jones-Drew's play changed the game, as the Jaguars poured it on. David Garrard replaced Leftwich and Garrard completed 11 of 14 passes for 129 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions. The high point of Garrard's night was a 14-play, 95-yard touchdown drive. He also ran for a score.
Del Rio took mild exception to the question about concern for the Jaguars' slow start.
"I want to be firing on all cylinders at all times. I would not call it concern. I'm sure we'll meet with adversity during the year. We want to be steady with our approach. We'd like to see our team go down the field and ring the bell, but it's not going to happen like that all the time," Del Rio said.
"It's just a slow start," Leftwich said. "We couldn't get a rhythm. It's good that happened because everything's not going to go good."
Second-year safety Jamaal Fudge recovered two fumbles, returning the first recovery 72 yards to the Tampa five-yard line. Fudge could move into the starting lineup at safety for the next game, since Nelson almost certainly won't play. The Jaguars play at Green Bay on Thursday.
Running back Greg Jones warmed his coach's heart with a 17-yard run in the second quarter. Jones is being worked back into action carefully as he completes his comeback from knee reconstruction.
"It was the same spot on the field against the same team that he suffered that knee injury against last year," Del Rio said of Jones' long run. "It's kind of fitting."