Saints Jaguars Football

New Orleans Saints wide receiver Tre'Quan Smith (10) runs for yardage past Jacksonville Jaguars defensive back Sammy Seamster during the second half of an NFL preseason football game, Thursday, Aug. 9, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

It was just a preseason game.

But for Tre'Quan Smith, the New Orleans Saints' 24-20 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars still counts.

It's why one of Smith's assistant coaches at Central Florida sent him a text message after the victory.

"14-0," the message read.

Smith, who played on UCF's 13-0 team last season, hasn't lost a football game since Dec. 17, 2016, when the Knights fell to Arkansas State in the Cure Bowl.

The rookie receiver did his part in his first pro game, catching four passes for 48 yards. Smith's 25-yard reception in the fourth quarter set up a Taysom Hill touchdown run on the next play.

"It felt amazing my first NFL game being with the guys," Smith said. "It's totally different from college. So to get my feet wet and experience my first NFL game, I was happy with the outcome."

Smith, a third-round draft pick, has been one of the stars of training camp.

Despite his success, he says he still has plenty of room for improvement.

"Overall I give myself a 'B' grade because I know there are more things I can get better at and more things I can learn," Smith said. "Instead of learning one spot, I can learn another position in the formation. And when the quarterback calls something, not (have to) think about it too much and already having my mind set up on how I'm going to work the guy in front of me. Overall, I feel comfortable with how I'm doing in this camp."

After further review

After watching the film of Thursday's win, Sean Payton saw plenty the Saints need to work on heading into Friday's preseason home opener against the Arizona Cardinals.

One of his biggest concerns was how the defense fared on third downs. The Jaguars converted on 6 of their 12 third-down opportunities.

"We struggled to get off the field defensively for the most part in the first half," Payton said. "Offensively, the alignment in and out of the huddle. Our tempo, I thought was poor. Too many times we were coming out of the huddle and there were questions (about) where we were aligning, so we have to clean that up."

One of the things Payton was most pleased about was the kicking game and the team's pass rush in the second half.

The Saints recorded six sacks in the game, led by Jayrone Elliot (2½) and Devaroe Lawrence (two).

P.J. Williams injured

The Saints are going to be without P.J. Williams for a little while.

The cornerback was knocked out of Thursday's game in the second half with bruised ribs. He is expected to be held out of action for about a week, a source confirmed. NFL Network first reported the news.

Williams is competing to win a roster spot at a suddenly deep cornerback position. It looks like Marshon Lattimore, Ken Crawley and Patrick Robinson are all locks to make the roster, leaving Williams, Natrell Jamerson, Arthur Maulet and Justin Hardee, among others, competing for the final spots on the roster.

Williams was one of five players who missed Friday's practice. Defensive linemen Mitchell Loewen and Marcus Davenport, along with tight end Michael Hoomanawanui and guard Josh LeRibeus were also out.

Receiver Tommylee Lewis attended practice but didn't participate.

Practice highlight

The Saints held an abbreviated practice Friday that lasted about 90 minutes.

Among the day's highlights was a one-handed catch by Alvin Kamara while being covered closely by linebacker Demario Davis. Drew Brees was almost perfect on the day, completing 9 of 10 passes. His only incomplete throw was a break-up by Maulet on a pass intended for Keith Kirkwood.

Nick Underhill contributed to this report.

Follow Rod Walker on Twitter, @rwalkeradvocate.