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Saturday primer: Jaguars-Colts

Posted Sep 28, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars finishing preparations for Indianapolis Colts Sunday at EverBank Field in Jacksonville.

JACKSONVILLE – As Gus Bradley sees it, home-field advantage should be huge.

But to hear the Jaguars’ first-year head coach tell it, it’s about more than simply relying on the fans at EverBank Field – and it certainly will more than that Sunday when the Jaguars return home for the first time in three weeks.

You want get an edge at home? Earn it.

“I think it’s not only our fans, but we have a lot to do with it too,” Bradley said Friday as the Jaguars (0-3) prepared to play host to the Indianapolis Colts (2-1) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

“If we come out and we’re competing and playing hard and fast and competitive and generate some momentum within, I think our fans will be there for us. That is our objective is to capture home field and here’s an opportunity for us.

“I think we’ve got to generate momentum on our own and I think the fans will follow.”

The Jaguars lost to the Kansas City Chiefs, 28-2, in the regular-season opener at home, and then followed that with two losses on the road. They will play back-to-back road games at St. Louis and Denver following today’s game against the Colts.

“Our guys are real excited about this opportunity,” Bradley said.

They will enter Sunday’s game with a significant lineup change, with eight-year veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis playing for the first time this regular season. He has been out the first three games with a calf injury.

“I think he’s really going to add to us,” Bradley said of Lewis’ return.

Quarterback Blaine Gabbert also will return to the starting lineup. The third-year veteran started the regular-season opener before sustaining a lacerated hand on the final series against the Chiefs.

Bradley, who talked throughout the week about wanting Gabbert to play freer and with less worry upon returning, said on Friday that Gabbert improved in practice throughout the week, showing rust early in the week but becoming more efficient.

“He’s in a good (frame of) mind right now,” Bradley said. “I think he feels real good.”

Rookie Ace Sanders also will return punts for the first time this season while playing a key role in a receiving corps that enters the game as thin as it has been all season. Sanders will start opposite veteran Cecil Shorts III, with Jeremy Ebert and Tobais Palmer elevated from the practice squad to play wide receiver Sunday. Wide receivers Mike Brown and Stephen Burton were among four players ruled out Friday, with Brown out with a back injury and Burton out with a concussion.

Injuries also have hit the secondary, where rookie safeties Johnathan Cyprien and Josh Evans will make their first start as a tandem. Cyprien has started the first three games, while Evans will start in place of veteran Dwight Lowery, out with a concussion sustained last week in a loss to Seattle.

Veteran Alan Ball will start at one corner, returning to the lineup after a week’s absence with a groin injury, while veteran Will Blackmon will start a third consecutive game in place of rookie starter Dwayne Gratz, who remains out with a high-ankle sprain sustained in the season opener.

Here’s a look at this week’s coverage of Jaguars-Colts on jaguars.com:

 

ARTICLES
Setting the Table: See which players and matchups to watch and so much more.
Wednesday Wrap: Get the answers to Senior Writer John Oehser's five questions before media availability.
Fabulous Four: The four storylines to watch heading into Colts vs Jaguars.
10 Things: The 10 things the Jaguars must do to beat the Colts, according to Oehser.
Inside the Jaguars: Sanders ready to return: The latest update on the Jaguars injuries.

 

VIDEOS
Jaguars All Access: Linebacker Paul Posluszny joins Jaguars Analyst Jeff Lageman and Action News Sports Director Brent Martineau.
O-Zone Mailbag: Oehser recaps the team's trips out west.
Open Locker Room: Hear from quarterback Blaine Gabbert and running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
Kickin' It With Scobee: Jaguars kicker Josh Scobee asks his teammates their favorite thing about home games.
Film Room Friday: Lageman breaks down the Jaguars and their upcoming opponent.
Gus Bradley Press Conference 9/27: Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley's final press conference of the week.
Inside the Jaguars 9/27: The final Inside the Jaguars before the team's game on Sunday.

 

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