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Shorts' role to increase

Posted Oct 10, 2012

Jaguars WR Cecil Shorts to play a bigger role; S Dwight Lowery out two-to-three weeks

All in all, the week went well.

And while Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey said there won’t be wholesale changes following the 2012 bye week, there could be a new wrinkle or two.

One significant change: More playing time for Cecil Shorts.

Shorts, a second-year wide receiver who has scored two touchdowns and who had a diving, one-handed reception against the Bears this past Sunday, worked this week at the team’s “X” receiver position. If starter Laurent Robinson can’t play, Mularkey said Shorts will start there against Oakland next weekend.

Whatever the case, Mularkey said Shorts will play more.

“He’s taken advantage of the situations we’ve put him in, and he has made some big plays,” Mularkey said of Shorts following Wednesday’s practice at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields.

“We want to give him a chance to continue to do that.”

Shorts, who has worked mostly the “Z” position since organized team activities, has caught eight passes for 205 yards this season, catching the go-ahead touchdown in the final seconds of a loss to Minnesota and catching an 80-yard, game-winning touchdown in the final minutes of a victory at Indianapolis.

Shorts said he was told Monday he would be working more at the X.

“I was excited, but I try to put my head down and grind some more,” Shorts said. “I think we all need to step up as a whole offense. The team is the game, not necessarily one player. We all need to step up and do our job better. I think we all will.

“We’ve had a good couple of days. Now, we get some time to ourselves, get our mind right and be ready to go Monday.”

Robinson, who is in the concussion program for a third time this season, is uncertain for the Raiders game, while Mularkey said safety Dwight Lowery is expected to miss at least two or three weeks with an ankle injury. Second-year veteran Chris Prosinski will start for Lowery.

Mularkey called the absence of Lowery “significant.”

“He does a lot of communicating back there with (safety) Dawan (Landry),” Mularkey said. “They do a lot of adjustments for our secondary and he’s been very good in regards to coverage. He’s been covering some of the tight ends we’ve had to play.

“He’s been playing well for us. It will be a loss, especially in the communication area.”

Outside linebacker Daryl Smith also has a chance to return for the Oakland game, Mularkey said. Smith did not practice this week.

Smith, who has missed each of the first five games with a groin injury, previously had missed just four games in eight NFL seasons.

“Once it happened, I didn’t have control over it,” Smith said. “I don’t waste my time worrying about stuff I can’t control. I’m just going to do what I can to get better. I’ve just been helping out as much as I can.

“We just have to play better and play together for a whole game. It just comes down to everybody doing their job when they’re supposed to do it and how they’re supposed to do it.”

Wednesday’s practice was the last of the team’s two bye week practices, with the team scheduled to be off Thursday through Sunday. Under the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, players must have four consecutive days off during the bye week with two of those days weekend days.

Mularkey said the coaching staff – which will get Thursday and Friday off but will work this weekend – spent the week evaluating the team “and finding out some things that we need to clean up, which is always the case in bye weeks regardless of the record.”

“I think it’s a good time for the bye for a lot of reasons,” Mularkey added. “We’re halfway through the year and if you’re talking training camp and five games, it’s the halfway point. We can get healthier, and I think guys will feel better when they come back, both mentally and physically.”

Mularkey said while there may be some changes following the bye, they will be minor.

“There are a few things we’re definitely looking at just based on what we know,” Mularkey said. “We know ourselves a little better now after five games, and there will be some things we will do but nothing drastic by any means. We worked on them these last few days.”

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