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What we learned . . .


1. The defense really is improved.Say what you like about what the Jaguars didn't do Sunday. They did stop the run, and got the Titans off the field in some key situations. That's something to build on.

2.Mike Thomas really is the Jaguars' best receiver. A few weeks ago, I said Cecil Shorts might be the best receiver on the team by the end of the season. Thomas didn't like this much. After Sunday, it's easy to see why. Thomas is the best receiver on the Jaguars, and for now, it's not close.

3.Luke McCown can make clutch throws.The 25-yarder to Thomas near game's end was a big-time throw and catch. Without it, things are a lot more dicey at the end.  The Jaguars will need to let McCown throw downfield more in the coming weeks. A play like that should give him confidence going forward.

4.The blitz will help.The Jaguars rarely blitzed in preseason, which was a reason opposing quarterbacks had too much time to throw. On Sunday, the blitz was effective against the Titans. You don't want to rely on the blitz all the time, but it was clear Sunday the Jaguars will be better rushing the passer when they use it this season.

5.Maurice Jones-Drew wants the ball.Well, we already knew this, and we got to hear it again after the game.

6.The Jaguars need Marcedes Lewis on the field.One reason the offense slowed a bit late was they rested Jones-Drew. Having Lewis out didn't help.

7.McCown needs to use Lewis more.Lewis caught two passes for 28 yards. The offense needs him to be a force over the middle to be at its highest efficiency.

8.The offensive line is better than you thought.Jaguars fans were braced for disaster from the offensive line after preseason. As it turned out, the members of the line were right all along: they can run the ball, and when they are running effectively, pass blocking improves, too.

9.Will Rackley needs time.The rookie left guard played like . . . well, a rookie. That's OK. This was a trench warfare game, and there are going to be early mistakes.

10.The new kickoff rules will make a huge difference.Until the weather gets cold, opponents may never again start a drive anywhere else but the 20 after a Jaguars score. 

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