Jaguars believe Mincey will improve with time

Jeremy Mincey will never forget his first career start.

Unfortunately for him, those memories have little to do with his

performance.

He had five tackles and two quarterback hits Nov. 14 against

Houston, a game the Jacksonville Jaguars won 31-24 because of David

Garrard’s ”Hail Mary” pass to Mike Thomas on the final play.

Mincey made a few mental mistakes, had some technique issues,

shattered his cast and left coach Jack Del Rio looking for

improvement. Mincey believes his second start will be considerably

better. The Jaguars (5-4) host the Cleveland Browns (3-6) on

Sunday.

”I didn’t play a bad, horrible game,” Mincey said Wednesday.

”I watched the film five times. There were some things I could

have done better, but as far as playing hard and hustle, those were

there. It wasn’t as good as I wanted it to be. But that’s just

rust.”

Before the game against Houston, Mincey hadn’t played since Oct.

24 at Kansas City. He broke his right hand a few days later, missed

the following game at Dallas and then had a bye week.

Making his first start even more awkward, the Jaguars moved him

from the left side to the right side to replace injured pass-rusher

Aaron Kampman.

The result: Mincey’s first career start was more like a complete

reboot.

”I’ve got to … learn to train my mind to do this on a

repeated basis,” he said. ”Being a backup is a little different.

You go in for five plays and you’re focused for five plays. I’ve

just got to turn the mental part of my game up.”

Mincey played a career-high 48 snaps against the Texans. Some of

those came with the cast on his right hand falling apart. But

instead of taking a seat on the training table or the bench, Mincey

stayed in the game.

”If I re-break the hand, I re-break the hand. I’ve got to

continue to go out there. I just didn’t even think about it. I just

thought about winning the game,” he said.

The coaches love Mincey’s attitude, work ethic and motor –

things they weren’t totally pleased with regarding former

first-round draft pick Derrick Harvey. They benched Harvey last

month – finally giving up on the eighth overall pick from the 2008

draft – and turned the position over to Mincey.

But when Kampman tore a ligament in his right knee in practice

last week, the Jaguars decided to move Mincey to the more

high-profile spot on the right side.

”I’ve got to get my muscle memory back for playing on the right

side, but I think that will come this week,” Mincey said.

Mincey, who has 23 tackles and a sack this season, got to

quarterback Matt Schaub twice on Sunday. Mincey thought he had a

sack when Schaub threw out of bounds, but officials didn’t flag him

for intentional grounding.

Mincey said he had some minor mistakes, but nothing that can’t

be fixed this week in practice. Del Rio said Mincey and rookie

Austen Lane have no choice but to step up their games.

”The guys that are playing are going to have to play at a

higher level than what we got (Sunday),” Del Rio said. ”Our

defensive ends did not play very well. They’re going to have to

play much better going forward.”

But he’s sticking with Mincey and Lane.

”They’ve got great energy, they’ve got great desire, they’ll

work at it and then we expect to see it played at a higher level as

we continue to go forward here,” Del Rio said.