JACKSONVILLE – The vibe around the Jaguars' offense is good.
And to hear Jaguars offensive players tell it, it's more than just quarterback Nick Foles who feels good about where the unit is heading.
Wide receiver Chris Conley …
Wide receiver Dede Westbrook …
Both figure to be key contributors this season on a Jaguars offense attempting to make serious strides after an offseason of change, and both agree with what Foles said recently – that the offense will improve in large part because of the chemistry that has been building in recent weeks.
"I think this offense is really, really excited," Conley said Sunday as the Jaguars (0-3 in the 2019 preseason) prepared to play the Atlanta Falcons (0-4) in the 2019 preseason finale at TIAA Bank Field Thursday at 7 p.m.
"We've seen some of the things we're capable of doing. I think that puts us in the headspace that we are anxious to get to work. I think that that excitement means we have potential, and potential means we haven't done anything yet. We know what we're capable of doing. I don't think we're quite there yet.
"We know there's going to be a lot of work getting there."
The first-team offense made its lone appearance of the preseason this past Thursday in a loss to Miami, playing four series. Two ended in punts, one ended with an interception and one resulted in 75-yard drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Foles to Westbrook.
Foles, whose four series Thursday marked his first game action since signing as an unrestricted free agent in March, afterward expressed optimism about the offense not as much because of the results against Miami as what he has seen in training camp and the preseason.
"Football is a crazy game; it's all about relationships," he said.
Foles added that he felt strongly about how those relationships were building.
"We're going to have Xs and Os and we're going to have plays, but execution comes when there's an energy, when you trust the guy next to you," Foles said. "This thing is building. We're going to continue to believe in one another and getting to know one another. That's where special things happen."
Conley, who signed in the offseason as an unrestricted free agent from Kansas City, said he has the same sense as the preseason draws to a close.
"I like the guys' attitudes," Conley said. "When you have guys who have the ability to make big plays, sometimes their attitude doesn't speak for sacrifice. It doesn't necessarily say, 'I'm going to go out there and give you everything I have for you and not for me.' I like the fact that when I'm in the huddle there are guys out there who either who have been paid – or who are probably going to get paid a significant amount of money – they look me in the eyes and say, 'Let's go do this thing. Let's go be who we can be. Let's go score.'
"That's not selfish football. If we can keep that up as we work on the finer details, this offense can be dangerous."
Westbrook, the leading receiver last season on a Jaguars offense that slid from No. 6 in the NFL in total yards in 2017 to No. 27 in 2018, said he has seen the same approach from many of his teammates.
Westbrook was asked Sunday what made him excited about the '19 offense.
"Just the brotherhood – and the relationship we all have with one another," he said. "In the locker room, we've come together as a team and as brothers as opposed to everyone coming in, not saying too much of anything to anybody, getting their work done and leaving. We all have a relationship, a bond and a connection.
"Each team I've played with that had success was because we cared about each other outside of football. At the end of the day, that's what it's all about. Once you care about that person more than ball, that's going to get you to go the extra mile for that person."
The pressing question now for the Jaguars: Will that continuity and chemistry come together quickly enough to be ready for a Week 1 matchup at TIAA Bank Field against the Kansas City Chiefs, a team with as potent an offense as any in the NFL?
"I don't think there's ever time for a 'work in progress,' but that's what football is,'' Conley said of an offense that will enter its first season under new coordinator John DeFilippo. "It's a first-year system and there are going to be growing pains. There are going to be some weeks where we come out and fire on all cylinders.
"There may be some weeks where we need the defense to help us. That's the way this game works. Regardless of what kind of talent we have under center, out wide or in the backfield, there are going to be days when things struggle.
"We have to find a way to mesh and jell and hit on all cylinders within the system."