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Inside the Jaguars: Lotulelei, Allen ready if needed

Posted Nov 14, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars could move Russell Allen to middle linebacker with John Lotulelei perhaps making first NFL start Sunday.

JACKSONVILLE – John Lotulelei doesn’t yet know if he’ll start Sunday.

As for Russell Allen, he doesn’t know if he will start at middle or outside linebacker, with each player’s situation dependent on the status of middle linebacker Paul Posluszny.

But Allen, a veteran who has played middle and outside in the past, said he will be ready to play either spot – and while Lotulelei doesn’t have Allen’s experience, he, too, said he is confident.

“I’ve got to be (ready),” Lotulelei said Thursday as the Jaguars (1-8) prepared to play the Arizona Cardinals (5-4) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

That’s true of both Allen and Lotulelei this week.

Posluszny, the Jaguars’ starting middle linebacker and leading tackler, missed a second consecutive practice day Thursday after sustaining a concussion in a victory at Tennessee on Sunday. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Thursday that Posluszny has not been ruled out for Sunday.

If Poslusnzy can’t play, Allen – a fifth-year veteran who has 39 starts for the Jaguars – would move inside, as he did following Posluszny’s injury with 2:11 remaining Sunday. Lotulelei would start outside in Allen’s strong-side spot.

Allen also would become responsible for the Jaguars’ defensive calls.

“It’s something I’ve done in the past,” Allen said. “It’s something I actually enjoy doing and I take pride in doing that. Obviously, I hope Paul can play. That’s just better. It’s a little different this week because I’m trying to be ready to play two positions, but because I’ve played outside, I’m focused on playing in the middle, then I’ll be ready to play outside as well.”

Lotulelei, acquired off waivers from Seattle earlier this season, switched from weak-side to strong-side linebacker following the team’s bye week, and he played 10 snaps for Allen in the team’s victory over Tennessee Sunday.

“It’s a big opportunity for me to get out there, and contribute to the team,” said Lotulelei, who switched from weak- to strong-side linebacker after the Jaguars’ bye week. “Right now, I’m just learning the defense to be on top of it. Both positions have similar responsibilities, but I’ve adjusted pretty well. Now, I’m just polishing up on all the techniques.”

“He’s learning,” Jaguars defensive coordinator Bob Babich said. “He has some room to improve, but he’s a tough guy and he plays hard, plays with a lot of effort. He was in a system very similar to ours, so I think he’s progressed a little quicker than most guys would going from one team to another at the point that he did.

“John is doing a good job and he played some snaps last week, and he showed up a little bit too.”

Also around the Jaguars:

*Bradley said he expects to know more regarding Posluszny’s situation early Friday afternoon following practice. “We’re just following the NFL protocol,” Bradley said, adding that he was more confident Thursday that Posluszny could play against the Cardinals than he had been the day before. “I know he was feeling better.”

*In addition to Posluszny, wide receiver Stephen Burton missed practice with a concussion, and wide receiver Stephen Williams missed with an Achilles injury….

*Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III (groin) and defensive tackle Roy Miller (shoulder) missed practice and were listed on the injury report with injuries, but their absences were “coach’s decisions.”…

*Cornerback Alan Ball was added to the injury report with an ankle injury after working limited Thursday, with wide receiver Mike Brown (ankle), running back Maurice Jones-Drew (knee), tight end Danny Noble (hamstring) and guard Will Rackley (concussion) also working limited….

*Defensive end Tyson Alualu (elbow), defensive end Jason Babin (not injury related), defensive end Andre Branch (neck), defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks (ankle) and center Brad Meester (not injury related) were all listed on the injury report, but worked full Thursday….

*Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch met with the media Thursday, saying while the Jaguars struggled at times to run against the Titans Sunday positives in the area included touchdown runs by Maurice Jones-Drew and Jordan Todman to start the first and second halves, respectively. The Cardinals rank No. 3 against the run in the NFL this season. “They’re elite in that category, this team that we’re playing,” he said. “It will be quite a challenge, but on the same token it’s not like we’re going to abort the run and see what happens. We’re going to try and establish the run again and go from there.”…

*Fisch also said he expects rookie Ace Sanders to remain the team’s slot receiver for the most part, with first-year veteran Mike Brown staying outside….

*Through nine games, the Jaguars are tied for the NFL lead for fewest fumbles lost this season with three. The area is a daily emphasis for Bradley and the coaching staff. “It helps,” Bradley said of the emphasis. “We’ve had some good fortune. We’ve had some balls on the ground that we’ve dropped, so that’s the truth. But I think our guys are conscious of it and have awareness for it.”

This article is brought to you by TomBush.com


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