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Staying confident

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Jones-Drew, the Jaguars' two-time Pro Bowl running back, on Wednesday said that remains true not only for him, but for the entire Jaguars' offense – that despite the statistics and results thus far this season:

*Nine-point-seven points per game.

*One red-zone trip in three games, and no touchdowns from the red zone.

*The NFL's lowest-ranked passing offense.

All of that is true of the Jaguars this season, and it's also true that the opponent this week – the New Orleans Saints – has scored at least 30 points in every game this season and has a habit of playing high-paced, high-productive offense.

Still, Jones-Drew said the fact remains:

Not only does confidence remain high for Sunday's game, but there is a strong feeling around the Jaguars' offense that the unit has a very real chance to be productive this season.

 "If I told you, 'No,' would you believe me?" Jones-Drew asked Wednesday as the Jaguars (1-2) prepared to play the New Orleans Saints (2-1) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

"Listen: we can score points with them. For us, we can't worry about what they're doing on offense. We're not going against their offense."

That was the tone around the Jaguars' locker room Wednesday. Yes, playing a high-powered team such as the Saints – ranked second in the NFL in total offense and averaging just under 35 points a game – is a challenge, but offensive players said they can't worry about trying to keep pace with the Saints.

First, Jaguars offensive players said contrary to perception they don't necessarily see Sunday's game as a sure shootout. The Jaguars' defense is ranked fourth in the NFL, and has held two of three opponents under 20 points.

But if the Jaguars do need to score big, center Brad Meester said, it's not as if that can't happen.

 "We have a tremendous defense," Meester said. "Our defense has done a tremendous job all year, and offensively, we've done a really good job moving the ball. We just have to finish some of the drives. We've killed ourselves on some drives. We just have to stop doing that. That's what' we've been focusing on. We finish those drives, we start putting up a lot of points."

"I think we're doing great things as an offense – we really are. We're moving the ball. We just have to finish our drives. We continue to emphasize that."

The Jaguars through three games have scored the second-fewest points in the NFL, 29. Kansas City has scored 27 and the Seattle Seahawks have scored 30. While they rank sixth in the NFL in rushing, the Jaguars are ranked 32ndin the NFL in passing and 28thin overall offense.

They also have scored two touchdowns this season – a 21-yard touchdown run by Jones-Drew on the season's first drive, and a 36-yard touchdown pass from rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert to wide receiver Mike Thomas on the final play of the first half of a 16-10 loss to Carolina this past Sunday.

"The reality is we've had the opportunities to put some points on the board against defenses, and we haven't executed," guard Uche Nwaneri said. "That's what's holding us back – small details here and there where if you look at it on the film it's like, 'Man, we missed that,' or, 'If we get that little thing right, it's seven points.

"I don't know that it's a matter of not being able to score. It's a matter of being able to finish and put it all together each time you get the ball. That's what it has boiled down to these last three weeks."

The Jaguars scored three points in a loss to the Jets in Week 2, and 10 against Carolina this past week, but Nwaneri said even in a 16-14 victory over the Tennessee Titans in the regular-season opener there were chances missed.

"We had opportunities to put up a lot more point than we actually did – we have to execute; that's on everybody," Nwaneri said.

"Somewhere along the line, one of us breaks down," Jones-Drew said. "If it's me, or somebody else, it seems like someone breaks down and in our offense, one person can't break down. Everyone needs to be at the right place at the right time. We're a rhythm offense, so if you're not there and the ball's there, there's a problem. That's what it is.

"We're starting to get guys back and we've got to get the timing, because a lot of us haven't been able to practice with (rookie quarterback) Blaine (Gabbert). Once we get that timing back, and that rhythm back, I think we'll be all right."

Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio said Monday he believes the Jaguars will be more aggressive than they have been in their first three games, and said Sunday the Jaguars will be more balanced moving forward. In three games, the Jaguars have thrown 70 passes and had 108 rushing attempts.

"We try to be as balanced as we can," Jones-Drew said. "That's what's going to allow us to be the best. We just want to be a more balanced offense and continue on that path."

And if Sunday's game becomes a shootout? Well, Jones-Drew said while that might not be ideal on paper – and while the Jaguars' offense doesn't see itself as playing the Saints' offense – there's confidence in that situation, too.

"They've been in a lot of shootouts," Jones-Drew said. "Hopefully, that's not the case here, but if it is, we're up for the challenge. We have players who are going to have to make plays as well."

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