Cox back at corner;The Jaguars defensive back returns because Jones was “reeling.”

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. – It was the same situation as earlier, with

two different Jacksonville cornerbacks on Buffalo receiver Lee

Evans.

One play ended well for the

Jaguars and the other one

didn’t.

That was the difference for

Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio. It was

what got cornerback Derek Cox back into the game on defense and

what kept him there through the end of the

Jaguars’ 36-26 win over the Buffalo

Bills.

“Derek, who I told you has been working hard and been champing

at the bit for an opportunity, was thrust in and played pretty

solid all day,” Del Rio said. “As I indicated, we’re going to need

him to play well.”

Said Cox: “It felt good to contribute and help the team push

toward a win.”

Cox began the season as Jacksonville’s starting cornerback

opposite Rashean Mathis after a strong rookie year. But a rough

first game, in which Cox gave up multiple explosive plays to the

Denver Broncos, got him benched midway through the season

opener.

He was inactive the next week in San Diego, didn’t play against

the Philadelphia Eagles and came in on special teams and one

defensive play against the Colts. Del Rio said Cox lost

confidence.

Cox disagreed.

“Confidence has never been my weakness,” Cox said Sunday. “I’m

as confident as they come.”

But he never complained about being benched.

All the while, Jones started. He kept his position, and kept his

coaches happy, by limiting the explosive plays. Jones hadn’t been

perfect – Colts receiver Reggie Wayne caught 15 passes for 196

yards, mostly against him – but he had minimized damage.

On Sunday, the Bills attacked early.

On the first play after Jacksonville receiver Mike Thomas

fumbled a punt return, Evans lined up as a Z-receiver. The

Jaguars knew that meant a deep

ball.

Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick took a shot deep to the left. The

ball sailed over Jones’ head, and hit Evans for a 45-yard

touchdown.

“We knew it was a shot time,” Del Rio said. “We all knew that

was a shot time, and we just let that go over the top of it. That’s

unacceptable.”

Del Rio said Jones struggled on the next play as well and was

“reeling.” Cox came in shortly thereafter.

“I was told that I was practicing well, so they were happy with

the way I was practicing,” Cox said. “I’m always told, ‘Be ready.’

Mentally prepared myself to step in at any moment.”

He had a chance to show the fruits of that preparation with five

minutes left in the first half. Evans lined up as the Z receiver,

and Fitzpatrick went deep.

“We knew coming into the game that when he’s lined up at the Z,

they like to take shots at him vertically, so I was prepared,” Cox

said. “Wish I could have intercepted it.”

Instead, Cox knocked the ball out of Evans’ hands. Cox led the

team with six tackles and that one pass defense.

“We’re going to need David [Jones] to bounce back and play well

for us,” Del Rio said. “These guys are young players. Young players

are going to make mistakes. We’re going to do all we can to win

now, and that’s what we did today.”

tania.ganguli@jacksonville.com, (904) 359-4401