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Time for another jump


Marcedes Lewis said you don't want to read too, too much into this week.

But the Pro Bowl tight end said while the Jaguars won't get too high or low based on the week's results – even considering the comparative importance of the third preseason game – he said the reason for that is the team is focused on something bigger.

Winning and losing? In the preseason, it's of minimal importance.

What Lewis said is more important is the Jaguars have made strides in recent weeks, particularly in a victory over Atlanta this past Friday. And with the regular season fast approaching, the Jaguars must use a preseason game against the Buffalo Bills to continue that progress.

"As a team, we were able to come together and get a good win, but it's time to turn over now," Lewis said 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're approaching the beginning of the season, so I'm looking for us to go in, be sharp and don't make the same mistakes we made before."

The Jaguars, after a 35-point loss at New England in the preseason opener, played significantly better in several areas this past Friday in a 15-13 victory over Atlanta at EverBank Field. Rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert, the No. 10 overall selection in the 2011 NFL Draft, started the opener, with starter David Garrard returning from a back injury to start this past week against Atlanta.

Garrard played a quarter against the Falcons, with Gabbert working with the first team in the second quarter and the reserves to start the second half. With the quarterbacks working into the lineup, and with running back Maurice Jones-Drew out while returning from knee surgery, the Jaguars' offense has scored just one touchdown – a 12-yard pass from third-team quarterback Luke McCown to free agent rookie wide receiver Armon Binns in the fourth quarter against Atlanta.

Jaguars Head Coach Jack Del Rio said improving offensive efficiency will be a focus Saturday.

"We want to build on what we did last week," Del Rio said. "There were some positive signs last week.  We want to see more of them throughout the team, and really in all three phases we want to play sharp. We want to leverage and tackle even better defensively. We want to make sure that offensively our line begins to open some holes so we can run the ball a little bit better, that we offer our quarterbacks better protections and we get the point right in protection, that we're using the help – just more efficient and it's going to start up front, always does. Start with the line play. Overall we just need to be sharper.

"We want to continue to take steps. Offensively we have a need to be much cleaner, much sharper. We need to get in the end zone; not been nearly efficient enough and we're trying to remain patient as we're going through things but it's time to get some things going."

Jones-Drew, like defensive end Aaron Kampman, will miss a third consecutive game Friday, though each is expected to make the trip and also to play in the preseason finale at EverBank Field against St. Louis September 1.

Tight end Zach Miller (knee), right tackle Eben Britton (back), defensive end Jeremy Mincey (head), defensive end Steve Wesley (knee) and cornerback David Jones (hamstring) aren't expected to make the trip, while running back Deji Karim (head) is expected to make the trip and could play, Del Rio said this week.

"The biggest thing is to continue to grow as a team, to eliminate some of the mistakes, to play faster and to get through them healthy," Del Rio said. "There's a lot of evaluation, there's a lot of system installment, there's a lot of development in terms of timing and continuity."

While the emphasis remains on evaluation, the third preseason game typically carries with it more meaning. The Jaguars game-planned for Buffalo, and followed the same schedule for a game week that they will during the regular season. The starters also are expected to play into the second half.

 "We're keeping score, so you want to win," Jaguars middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said. "We feel like this is another opportunity to play together well as a defense and have time to jell together and bond on the field.  We want to take advantage of the opportunity."

Posluszny, who signed as an unrestricted free agent early in training camp, spent his first four seasons with the Bills. As such, he said he doesn't quite know what to expect Saturday.

"I'm not a Bill anymore," he said. "I'm the enemy now. I spent four years there, and gave everything I had while I played, but it's different now. I'm wearing different colors."

Partly because of the addition of Posluszny, linebacker Clint Session, safety Dawan Landry, cornerback Drew Coleman and end Matt Roth – and partly because of a defensive front that continues to improve – the Jaguars like the progress of the defense thus far in preseason.

Cornerback Rashean Mathis said it's important that continue.

"We want to eliminate the things we need to eliminate, and go into Sunday not really pointing out too many negative things," Mathis said. "It's preseason, so the media might crown teams, but there aren't any teams that are Super Bowl-ready right now. That's looking at it from a football standpoint and a preseason standpoint.

"Every team has things to clean up. It's the teams that get things cleaned up the quickest. The things we have to clean up are not major, but we're trying to nip them in the bud now."

Mostly, Lewis said, ""We want to see progression. We want to see how much better we got. It's about not making the same mistakes and going out and doing what we do best. For a lot of us, this might be our last game before the season.

"It's important we go out and make a big jump from Week 2."

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