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Inside the Jaguars: Shorts to play, Gabbert out

Posted Oct 11, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts III expected to play Sunday against Denver Broncos.

JACKSONVILLE – Cecil Shorts III almost certainly will play Sunday.

Blaine Gabbert definitely will not.

Shorts, the Jaguars’ leading receiver this season, practiced on a limited basis on Friday and is listed as probable, while Gabbert – the team’s starting quarterback in Weeks One, Four and Five – was officially ruled out as the team completed its final full practice in preparation for Sunday.

Chad Henne, who practiced with the first team throughout the week, will start at quarterback in place of Gabbert, who sustained a hamstring injury in a loss to St. Louis last week.

Henne started Weeks Two and Three this season and the final six games of last season.

He will make his ninth Jaguars start Sunday, and while the Denver Broncos enter that game as heavy favorites, Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley called the Jaguars’ recent few days of preparation “a good week.”

“Our players came out focused the whole week,” Bradley said Friday as the Jaguars (0-5) continued preparing to play the Broncos (5-0) at Sports Authority Field at Mile High in Denver, Colo., Sunday at 4:05 p.m.

“What I liked is our older guys kind of set the stage for it, but our younger guys are going into it saying, ‘Let’s go. This is a great opportunity for us.’ We talked about things we want to get accomplished Wednesday. They’ve kept that focus the whole week. We’re excited about this opportunity.

“It feels genuine to me. It feels like a real, genuine excitement about the opportunity.”

Gabbert was among five players declared out for the game, a list that includes veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis (calf), defensive lineman Jeremy Mincey (concussion), wide receiver Stephen Burton (concussion) and cornerback Dwayne Gratz (ankle).

Lewis will be inactive for the fifth time in six games with a calf injury that he has aggravated twice since an initial injury in training camp.

“He has made really good progress the last couple of days,” Bradley said. “His leg feels better. We’re still not going to say, ‘He should be back here or there,’ but I know mentally he’s in a good state right now. He has been through quite a deal here now.”

Also around the Jaguars Friday:

*Wide receiver Mike Brown was listed as probable on the injury report with a back injury. That means he is likely to play, which means for the first time this season the Jaguars’ top four receivers entering training camp – Shorts, Justin Blackmon, Ace Sanders and Brown – likely will be active….

*Bradley said the return to health of Brown should solidify the receiver position, which could allow rookie Denard Robinson to focus more on running back. “I think now we’re finding out, ‘Let’s give him some opportunities there at running back,” Bradley said. The return of Brown and Blackmon returning from suspension last week also has allowed Sanders to focus more on the slot position, Bradley said.

*Bradley said Gratz made progress this week and it appeared there might be a chance he could play. He said there is a better chance Gratz will play next week. He has been out since Week One with an ankle injury.

*Linebacker Geno Hayes (hip flexor), defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks (knee) and defensive tackle Roy Miller (knee) were listed as probable and are expected to play.

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