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Weapons emerge in Philly


Dirk Koetter didn't like the word discovered. Here's another word: emerged.

That's the best of what can be said about the Jaguars' 28-27 loss in Philadelphia on Friday, in the preseason opener. A lot of weapons that hadn't fully surfaced for fans to see, emerged against the Eagles.

Let's start with second-year wide receiver Tiquan Underwood. Fans had been reading about Underwood's speed but hadn't seen evidence of it, until Underwood blew past his Eagles defender and pulled in a perfectly-thrown, 55-yard touchdown bomb from Luke McCown in the third quarter. It staked the Jaguars to a 27-19 lead.

"Tiquan was open deep three or four times in Atlanta and we just didn't get the ball to him," Koetter, the Jaguars' offensive coordinator, said.

A quarter earlier, veteran wide receiver Troy Williamson was standing along the sideline when he reacted to a McCown scramble by running away from the defender and pulling in a 73-yard touchdown pass from McCown. It can hardly be said of Williamson that he emerged. After all, everyone has known about his blazing speed for a long time, but he hadn't shown much play-making ability in OTAs or training camp and few were counting on Williamson to be a weapon in the Jaguars' offense this year, until now.

"Troy has flashed before. Since Troy has been here, he's done good things. If he stays healthy and continues to do those things, there's no reason to think he wouldn't be a deep threat for the whole season," Koetter said.

Yeah, speed's a good thing and the Jaguars might have more of it in their receiving corps than for which they are given credit. Zach Miller is one of the fastest tight ends in the league and he showed his pass-catching ability by making an 18-yard reception in traffic on Friday.

"Every time Zach has been healthy, he's flashed as a playmaker. His issue is that out of the last 43 practices, how many times has he practiced? When Zach is healthy, he's a playmaker. He's had a hard time staying healthy," Koetter offered.

If you're looking for the surprise playmaker of the summer, it's second-year running back Rashad Jennings, who has some of the best, if not the best hands on the team. Jennings caught three passes for 28 yards on Friday.

"Rashad Jennings is one of the most improved guys on the offense. He's playing with so much more confidence. On the ball Luke threw to John (Matthews) down the middle, you'll never see a better blitz pickup. On the screen, it's a designed cutback. It was a great read by (Jennings) and Luke. Last year at this time, if Maurice had to come out of the game, I was a little nervous. This year, there's no question he can spell Maurice," Koetter said of Jennings.

Wide receiver Mike Thomas has been the team's best wide receiver in training camp but the guy who carries the number one designation, Mike Sims-Walker, had the toughest night of anybody, and that doesn't figure to continue. Put Sims-Walker in the weapon category, too.

"On the one high to Mike, David (Garrard) got rocked. That was an audible he made and Mike was open. If we had possessed the ball more, I think Dave would've had a night like Luke had," Koetter said. "We got off to a bad start with those three-and-outs. Of those 12 plays, Mike Sims-Walker had five what are called targets. Maurice had four, Marcedes (Lewis) one, Rashad one and Mike Thomas one. That's all those guys were in."

Rookie return men Deji Karim and Scotty McGee also emerged as weapons. They averaged 38.3 and 34.7 yards respectively returning kickoffs.

Discovered? Well, maybe the coaches already knew what they had. Now, so do the team's fans.

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