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Wednesday primer: Jaguars-Titans

Posted Dec 18, 2013

Senior writer John Oehser primes Jaguars-Titans week with five topics to watch during Jaguars media access Wednesday…

JACKSONVILLE – Here’s this week’s Wednesday primer.

Each Wednesday morning during the 2013 regular season, jaguars.com senior writer John Oehser sets the stage for the Jaguars’ media access that day by previewing major topics facing the team. Each Wednesday afternoon/evening, he will break down what was learned from Jaguars players and coaches that day.

Here’s a look at five key Wednesday topics as the Jaguars prepare for the Tennessee Titans …

 

1. Is this it for Meester? Jaguars center Brad Meester is nearing the end of his 14th NFL season. The possibility it could be the end of his final NFL season was a topic last week: when reporters asked about it, he asked they check back next week. Well, it’s next week and it seems likely Meester will say sometime this week that this is his final home game. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch each said last week Meester is playing well and has been key to the offensive line’s improvement, so there’s no guarantee Meester won’t continue to play. But if the tea leaves are correct and Meester indeed is retiring it will mark the end of one of the classiest careers in franchise history – and one of the best careers in franchise history, too.

2. The MoJo watch. Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew missed last Sunday’s game with a hamstring injury, with reserve Jordan Todman running for 109 yards in his first career start. So, yes, the Jaguars can run without Jones-Drew, but they’re still a better team with him than without. Bradley said Jones-Drew improved over the weekend and as of Monday there was a chance Jones-Drew could play Sunday. This likely will be a storyline throughout the week, but Bradley said the situation will be updated Wednesday.

3. Finish strong. The Jaguars’ slim playoff hopes ended Sunday against the Bills, and their three-game winning streak did, too. What didn’t end was the desire on the part of the Jaguars players to finish the season playing well. The Jaguars have a chance to finish in second place in the AFC South, and to match the Indianapolis Colts for the best record against AFC South this season. Players aren’t focused on those areas as much as maintaining momentum and continuing to improve this season, but few thought the Jaguars would finish in the top half of the division this season. To do so would be an accomplishment.

4. Put the D back in run D. This area by any measure has been better in the second half of the season than in the first. A lot better. But the Jaguars allowed 198 yards rushing in a loss to the Bills Sunday, and Bradley said this week there were troubling signs even before that. The Jaguars improved defensively in the second half against the Bills and Bradley said the defense started to get back to what it had done against the run in November. A lot of that has to do with fits. With Chris Johnson up next for the Jaguars’ defense, fixing the fits is critical. He’s not having his best season, but he can still turn a bad fit into a big run as quickly as any back in the NFL.

5. Who’s up? Who’s down? The Jaguars had been relatively healthy this season compared to the rest of the league and certainly compared to the Jaguars in recent seasons. That changed in a significant way last week. Cecil Shorts III is out for the season with a groin injury, and guards Mike Brewster (foot) and Will Rackley (concussion) are also out for the season. There are other unknowns, too. Linebacker Russell Allen is in the concussion program and safety Johnathan Cyprien (thigh) also is expected to try to return to practice after missing a game for the first time this season Sunday. Defensive tackle Roy Miller also is playing through a shoulder injury. Who will play may not be as much of a story this week as last, but it will be significant.


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