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Brackens suffers setback


Tom Coughlin told reporters today that defensive end Tony Brackens experienced a setback yesterday in Brackens' recovery from offseason knee surgery. Brackens was unable to participate in practice after experiencing problems with his knee in the pre-practice warmup.

"Yesterday was not a good day for him," Coughlin said during his noon press conference today.

Brackens missed all but two training camp practices. He experienced swelling in his knee on the second day of training camp and was sidelined until the final practice of training camp, this past Monday afternoon. He was unable to make yesterday's practice two in a row.

Coughlin held out hope Brackens would be able to play in the preseason finale against the Dallas Cowboys on Thursday, Aug. 29, however, Brackens' situation has clearly graduated to the status of high anxiety. He is the Jaguars defense's star pass-rusher and play-maker.

"At some point in time the question is going to be raised as to who the play-makers are," Coughlin said in previewing this Friday's preseason game in Champaign, Ill., where the Jaguars will meet the Chicago Bears.

"If we're going to talk about being a physical team, here's a great opportunity against a team that is very big and physical," Coughlin said.

At 0-2, the Jaguars could use a win, but they would be served just as well by a couple of touchdowns by the offense, whose failures were the story of training camp. Through two preseason games, the Jaguars offense has scored just one touchdown, and starting quarterback Mark Brunell has completed just two passes to wide receivers.

"Obviously, there are some big shoes to fill there," Coughlin said of the wide receiver positions, where Keenan McCardell was lost in an offseason salary cap move and Jimmy Smith remains a holdout. "We haven't had many plays during the preseason. They have to prove they can win in a one-on-one matchup," Coughlin added of his current wide receivers, who are led by Bobby Shaw and Patrick Johnson.

Coughlin also flatly denied the Jaguars have entertained discussions with the Philadelphia Eagles about a trade for Smith, as was reported by a Philadelphia radio station.

Given the Jaguars' woes in the passing game, Coughlin is expected to lean harder on running back Fred Taylor, but Coughlin is a stern advocate of play-calling balance and he's not likely to abandon the passing game.

"I believe you have to have balance. In some way or another, you have to come up with that," he said.

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