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Jaguars look ahead to preseason finale against Falcons

Posted Aug 25, 2012

DE Jeremy Mincey on the loss to the Ravens: “Definitely a wakeup call.”

Two days later, it was time to look forward.

That’s not to say the Jaguars weren’t very aware that what happened Thursday night in Baltimore was unacceptable, and in the wake of a 31-point loss to the Ravens, there was the expected talk of recovering, responding and moving forward.

“It was definitely a wakeup call,” defensive end Jeremy Mincey said.

But Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey said while many things went wrong Thursday, many things went right.  Saturday was a time for working on each.

Mularkey said he spoke to the team before practice Saturday about maintaining what has been a high level of focus and energy in practice. While that was easy after victories in the first two preseason games, he said it was harder in the wake of a loss.

 “The first couple of weeks after we had a chance to win the game we had very good practices,” Mularkey said. “The energy level, you could tell, was up. It can be down after a loss. It’s a negative feeling. You think negative thoughts. Practice doesn’t sound as good this week as it did last week.

“I just wanted to address it and wanted them to know we needed a good week of work. We’ve still got a week of training to do. We got an extra day to it.”

With Saturday being that extra day, Mularkey said the team had a good day.

“I told them afterward, it didn’t surprise me,” Mularkey said.

Mularkey called Saturday unique, because normally teams play on Friday or Saturday during the preseason. With the Jaguars playing Thursday, Mularkey said the team got 50 plays in during what was essentially an extra day of practice.

“We got a chance to review the Ravens game this morning, then got a good hour and fifteen minutes of work,” he said.

Among the positives Mularkey said he saw Thursday were the defense holding the Ravens on the first possession, and the defense stopping a two-minute drive for a third consecutive game. The Jaguars also forced two turnovers and committed none.

“We saw a lot of individual things that were good,” Mularkey said, adding with a laugh, “I’m going to leave off all the negatives we need to fix.”

The Jaguars’ first-team offense, after scoring on four of eight possessions in the first two preseason games, managed just one field goal in three quarters against the Ravens.

 “There were definitely some positive things, but the main thing that we need to work on is not shooting ourselves in the foot,” quarterback Blaine Gabbert said after completing 11 of 21 passes for 117 yards and no touchdowns with no interceptions against the Ravens.

“We had some positive plays on first down. Then there were other times we would get a couple yards and then we’d be in 2nd-and-15 or 2nd-and-19 so we have to eliminate the negative plays – like I said after the game – in order to keep ourselves in second and medium, third and short so we can capitalize on our third down.”

Gabbert called the work against the Ravens’ defense “a big-time learning experience,” adding that Baltimore gave the Jaguars’ offense many different looks.

“It definitely tested us,” Gabbert said. “We put a lot of good stuff on film to learn from, so when we see them down the road we’ll be ready to go.”

Said Mincey, “We have to execute better. We have to make strides from it. I think it’s going to help us become a real good football team. It’s good to reset the clock. I think that’s what the game did. It’s just the preseason.

“It’s about finding what you’re good at and what you need to work on. That’s what we’re doing.”

Mularkey said the team will resume its normal schedule Sunday, with a “Wednesday” type full practice to prepare for Thursday’s game against Atlanta at EverBank Field in Jacksonville. He also said the intensity of practice won’t wane, with the team expected to work in pads Sunday and Monday.

He said the team also will work in pads Monday and Wednesday of the regular-season opener.

Mularkey said he expects the Jaguars’ starters to play up to a quarter against Atlanta, with that group likely to play at least 10-to-12 plays. Exactly how much the starters will play will depend on length of possessions.

Mularkey also said heading into the week depth has become an issue at defensive end and tight end. Rookie tight end Matt Veldman is expected to be placed on injured reserve with a knee injury and veteran Zach Miller is out at least a couple of weeks with a calf injury.

“It’s tough timing,” Mularkey said. “It is what is when it comes to those injuries.”

Defensive end George Selvie will miss at least two weeks with a knee injury, and while end Aaron Morgan practiced Saturday after sustaining an ankle injury Thursday, end Austen Lane is out at least a couple of more weeks with a foot injury and end Odrick Ray is in the concussion program and not practicing.

Mularkey said the Jaguars could sign a player off the waiver wire when teams make moves in the next few days.

“We’re looking,” Mularkey said. “This is a big roster cut-down (time) for all of the teams. We’re looking for all positions. We’re hoping to get some depth. We’ll see what’s out there.”

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