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Wednesday morning primer: Colts week

Posted Sep 25, 2013

Senior writer John Oehser primes Jaguars-Colts week with five topics to watch during Jaguars media access Wednesday:

JACKSONVILLE – Here’s this week’s Wednesday primer.

Each Wednesday morning during the 2013 season, jaguars.com senior writer John Oehser will set the stage for the Jaguars’ Wednesday media access by previewing major topics facing the team that day. Each Wednesday afternoon/evening, he will break down what was learned from Jaguars players and coaches that day.

Here’s a look at five key Wednesday topics as the Jaguars prepare for the Indianapolis Colts . . .

1. What’s next? The Jaguars are 0-3 with three double-digit losses. Head Coach Gus Bradley talked Monday of remaining positive, saying that with a young roster, the idea is to build a foundation. He said that’s why he won’t be discouraging or down after three games. Can players maintain that approach despite difficult circumstances? They’ll be asked that Wednesday, but the answer almost certainly will be yes. This team trusts Bradley and the direction of the franchise. There have been no signs of that changing.

2. Time to relax? Bradley made news Monday by not only announcing that Blaine Gabbert will start at quarterback against the Colts Sunday, but that he believed a key for Gabbert moving forward is to play with more freedom and to play looser. This is a critical time for Gabbert. He’s in his third season, is 5-22 as a starter, and will be making his second start of the season. He also is 3-0 in his career against the Colts. Those will be topics, but relaxation and how it relates to his future certainly will be THE topic.

3. Just how young will the secondary be Sunday? That may not be known until later in the week. The Jaguars played three rookie defensive backs much of the game Sunday, with safety Johnathan Cyprien starting as usual, cornerback Demetrius McCray starting for veteran Alan Ball and safety Josh Evans playing in place of the injured Dwight Lowery. Bradley was optimistic on Monday about Ball returning this Sunday, but Lowery is in the concussion program this week after leaving on the game’s second play Sunday.

4. Will Marcedes Lewis be available? The veteran tight end missed the first three games of the regular season with a calf injury. He said last week he believed he would play against the Colts, and Bradley said Monday that Lewis continued to improve. Other injuries to watch include defensive tackle Roy Miller (elbow) and wide receiver Mike Brown (back). Miller is expected to be ready for Sunday, while Brown sustained a broken bone in his lower back and seems unlikely to play Sunday.

5. Can the Jaguars run? The Jaguars have had trouble early in games offensively, and a lot of that trouble has come because of struggles in early downs. Some of that can be traced to perhaps the team’s most-glaring offensive statistic – an average gain of 2.4 yards per rushing attempt. With Maurice Jones-Drew rushing for 115 yards and a touchdown on 44 carries this season, a huge topic this week will be the team’s need to reestablish a running game that long was an organizational strength.

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