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Inside the Jaguars, 8/21

Posted Aug 21, 2012

Senior writer John Oehser takes a look inside Tuesday around the Jaguars practice facility.

MONROE, COX, SMITH REMAIN OUT

Eugene Monroe will be in Baltimore Thursday, but he won’t play.

Monroe, the Jaguars’ starting left tackle, will be among several frontline players and/or starters who won’t play in the team’s preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens, head coach Mike Mularkey said Tuesday afternoon.

Monroe sustained a hit to the head last Wednesday and missed the team’s preseason victory at New Orleans. He is in the team’s concussion program.

Monroe will be tested again Friday, Mularkey said.

“I don’t know if traveling has anything to do with the testing part of it,” Mularkey said. “If they felt like it had anything to do with speeding up the process and having him come back and they felt like travel was a concern they would not have let him travel.”

Cornerback Derek Cox (hamstring), linebacker Daryl Smith (groin) and guard Will Rackley (high-ankle sprain) also will travel but will not play, Mularkey said.

Cornerback Rashean Mathis is expected to play after missing the first two preseason games. He spent the off-season rehabilitating from knee surgery.

Mularkey said he expects the starters to play at least three quarters in Baltimore.

 

BRANCH SOLID AGAINST THE RUN

Rookie defensive end Andre Branch has impressed coaches in more ways than one.

Branch, a second-round selection in the 2012 NFL Draft from Clemson, was considered a player with big-time pass-rushing potential. He has shown that at times in the preseason, but Mularkey said Tuesday he has been impressed and surprised with Branch’s play against the run.

“When you have guys that come off the edge with some speed you always have concern about the run game – whether they can hold up against the big tackles and things,” Mularkey said. “For being a rookie and being thrown right into this starting lineup like that I think he’s done really well. I think he’s going to just keep getting better.

“You’ve got to win the one on one against the tackle and I think he’s held up pretty well. I think he will get better at it as well.”

Branch said he has focused on that area throughout the offseason and training camp. “In order to play in this league, you can’t just pass rush,” he said.

Branch has seven tackles and three quarterback pressures in two preseason games.

“I just want to get better each and every week,” Branch said. “We always harp on, ‘If the play is your way, you’ll make the plays you’re supposed to make.’ With this defense, one player is not going to stand out. One game, one player is going to pop out and the next game, another player is going to pop out. That’s just how the defense is played.”

 

MULARKEY ON JAGUARS OWNER SHAD KHAN

“It’s good that we have somebody that’s coming through on everything that he stated he would do. That’s easy to follow when you see the things that are happening here like the locker room, the weight room . . . we have things going on with the possibility of an indoor facility. I know that’s been talked about. All those things have made a difference. Players recognize it. “

 

WHAT WE SAW

Jaguars owner Shad Khan and NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell each attended practice Tuesday before attending a press conference to announce the Jaguars playing regular-season games in London the next four years. Also at practice, Khan was followed by a crew from 60 Minutes, which will air a profile of Khan in the fall. Khan said later he was initially surprised at 60 Minutes wanting to do the story and that his initial reaction was, “Why do it?” Khan said the story would be worth it if people can draw inspiration from it, “but more importantly, I think it was great exposure for Jacksonville and the Jaguars. The more I thought about it, the more I thought it was something we should do.” Khan said he initially was reluctant. “I’ve had a low-profile life and it worked out great, but the power of the NFL, football – it’s amazing the interest and the visibility,” he said. “I had to do major soul-searching whether this was something worth doing.”

 

WHAT’S NEXT

The Jaguars will go through a walkthrough practice Wednesday, then travel to Baltimore. They will play the Ravens in a preseason game Thursday night.

 

TODAY’S TAKE

Sometimes, you forget these guys are kids. On Tuesday, it was easy to remember because on Tuesday, officials from EA Sports were at EverBank Field to let Jaguars players preview this year’s Madden 2013 video game. The players played the game on the flat screen televisions in the locker room after practice, with one featured game being between guard Uche Nwaneri and cornerback Ahston Youboty and another being between rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon and cornerback Aaron Ross. A large number of players gathered around the sets watching and at least hinting at wagering. The cheers reminded you that for a lot of NFL players, the day Madden comes out isn’t far from the feeling a kid gets at Christmas.

 

QUICK HITS

*Less than two weeks after moving from right tackle to left guard, Eben Britton this week said he remains happy with the move. Britton, who missed much of last season with a back injury, returned this season and has participated fully in every Jaguars practice and each preseason game. After starting at right tackle his first two NFL seasons and playing tackle and guard during his brief playing time last season, he moved to guard after starting camp at tackle when the Jaguars moved second-year veteran Cameron Bradfield into the position. “I’m having a lot of fun there,” Britton said. “It’s different position. The good thing about guard is it’s a physical position, so it plays to my style of play. It makes it easier for me to adjust. It’s fun. I’m having a blast playing guard.”

*Mularkey on Tuesday said the offense being run in Jacksonville is more similar to the one he ran as offensive coordinator in Pittsburgh from 2001-2003 than the one he used in Atlanta as offensive coordinator the past four seasons. He said this offense features more pre-snap movement than what he ran in Atlanta. “We’re moving a lot more here,” he said. “I was kind of limited what I was allowed to do in Atlanta so we’re doing a lot more of the motions and shifts.”

*In addition to Monroe, Cox, Rackley and Smith, guard Drew Nowak (foot) and running back Keith Toston (hamstring) remained out of practice Tuesday and are expected to miss Thursday’s game. Tight end Zach Miller practiced for a second consecutive day after missing the first two preseason games with a pec injury.

*Defensive end Austen Lane (foot), guard Jason Spitz (ankle), cornerback Leigh Torrence (concussion program), center John Estes (knee) and fullback Brock Bolen (knee) also remain out of practice. Linebacker Clint Session (concussion) and defensive end John Chick (knee) remain on the Physically Unable to Perform list.

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