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Inside the Jaguars: Jones-Drew status uncertain

Posted Sep 19, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Maurice Jones-Drew uncertain for Sunday’s game at Seattle.

SAN JOSE, Calif. – Maurice Jones-Drew may be uncertain for Sunday.

Jones-Drew, the Jaguars’ three-time Pro Bowl running back, missed practice for a second consecutive day as the team worked out at San Jose State Thursday afternoon while preparing for its game at Seattle Sunday.

Jones-Drew, who sustained a strained tendon in his ankle in a loss to the Raiders this past Sunday, has experienced swelling in the area. It is that swelling that Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said on Thursday has made Jones-Drew’s status a to-be-decided situation.

“It still bothers him,” Bradley said Thursday as the Jaguars (0-2) prepared to play the Seahawks (2-0) at CenturyLink Field at 4:25 p.m.

Bradley said when Jones-Drew stands on the balls of his feet there is swelling that causes pain. The swelling has gone down since Monday, but Bradley said it remains an issue.

“We’ve got to get that swelling out of there,” Bradley said.

On whether there was a chance Jones-Drew might not play, Bradley said, “We’ll see. We’d like to have him be 100 percent.”

Bradley said Jordan Todman, Denard Robinson and Justin Forsett would take Jones-Drew’s spot in the lineupif Jones-Drew can’t play, with Todman likely starting. He said special teams and returning roles also would be adjusted in that scenario.

Quarterback Blaine Gabbert practiced limited and threw Wednesday, and though he threw well, Bradley said his work was toned back Thursday.

“We just want to be smart with him,” Bradley said.

Bradley called the possibility that Gabbert would play even in a backup situation “highly, highly unlikely.”

“We’ll see how the rest of the days go, but we’re not counting on that,” Bradley said.

Cornerback Alan Ball also did not practice Thursday because of groin tightness, and wide receiver Mike Brown (back) and tight end Marcedes Lewis (calf) practiced on a limited basis.

Ball played through the soreness Sunday, and Bradley said he is working through soreness this week. Bradley said recently-acquired cornerback Jamell Fleming could play if Ball can’t play.

“He could be the third corner,” Bradley said, adding that Fleming likely would play as an outside corner. “He has 4.4 speed. He’s strong at the point. Now, it’s just how fast we can get him caught up.”

Also on Thursday:

*Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch called the Seahawks a very good defense, and said while their schemes aren’t complicated, speed, size and knowledge of their scheme makes them one of the NFL’s best. “They’ve done a great job,” Fisch said. “It’s a great challenge. They know their personnel and they know what they can do really well. They play a lot of post-high coverage and there are a lot of one-on-one battles.”

*Fisch said the key will be winning the matchup between the Jaguars’ offensive line and Seahawks’ defensive front. “We have to win up front,” Fisch said, adding that that would enable the Jaguars to be more balanced and to run more effectively. The Jaguars have given up 12 sacks in two games and rushed for 1.8 yards per carry last week in a loss to Oakland. “The offensive line definitely got better; they certainly improved – I think the whole offense as a whole (improved),” Fisch said.

*Fisch, who spent 2010 as an assistant in Seattle, said the crowd noise at CenturyLink Field is significant, likening it to an SEC stadium. “It’s what makes the Seattle Seahawks,” he said. “It’s a ton of fun.” Fisch said the Jaguars already incorporate hand signals into the offense and that they won’t need to add significantly this week in that area. “We hope that we’re able to handle it and have composure and be poised,” Fisch said.

*Cecil Shorts III on the possibility of seeing one-on-one coverage from the Seattle defense: “I’m just going to go out and compete. I’m not going to overdo anything. When the ball comes my way, I’ll do what I can to make a play.” The Seahawks’ defense is known for playing eight defenders on the line of scrimmage with man-to-man defense and a single-high safety. That could mean one-one-one opportunities for Shorts, who has been double-teamed and shadowed throughout much of the first two games of the season. “They’re not complex, but they are very, very talented in what they do,” Shorts said. “You’ve got to go out and win your one-on-one battlers – really in every game, but especially in this game, because that’s what they do. They line up and say, ‘Beat us.’’’

*Rookie wide receiver Ace Sanders said he can see improvement from himself over the first two games, and said he gained confidence in a late-game performance against the Raiders, a game in which he caught five passes for 64 yards. “The coaches said, ‘We’ve seen you make these plays, now we expect this from you,’’’ Sanders said. “I took this as an opportunity to seize the moment and get better.’ It (the regular season) is way different from college and different from preseason. This level of play is fast – really fast. You get a better feel for the game once you’ve been out there.”

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