JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines the Thursday that was around EverBank Field as the Jaguars prepare to play host to the Oakland Raiders Sunday
BEACHUM FACING CHALLENGE
This isn't Kelvin Beachum's ideal.
Ideally, Beachum said he would have spent this week – the one-year anniversary of the worst day of his NFL career – practicing every day. Ideally, he would be fully healthy.
Beachum, the Jaguars' starting left tackle, isn't there yet. He had a day off practice Thursday to rest his surgically repaired knee. But while Beachum said his knee isn't 100 percent, it is improving steadily – and he is expected to start for the fifth time this season against Oakland Sunday.
Considering where he was a year ago, that's an accomplishment.
"It's been way more challenging than I thought," Beachum said Thursday as the Jaguars (2-3) prepared to play the Raiders (4-2) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m. "I thought once I was cleared to go, it would be kind of smooth sailing – that the pain would subside, the discomfort would subside and I'd be able to move and bend like I used to.
"I think I was living in a fantasy world. When they said, 'You're cleared,' I'm thinking 'cleared – I'm good.' It's been far from that. Managing it has been frustrating, but also a process I relish at the same time."
Head Coach Gus Bradley said the Jaguars had expected there to be times during the season that Beachum was held out of practice. He also said an upcoming two-games-in-five-days stretch with a game at Tennessee next Thursday played a factor in the decision.
Beachum, who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in March, sustained a torn anterior cruciate ligament tear last October 18 with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That made Tuesday the one-year anniversary of his injury.
"It mattered to me," Beachum said. "My career as a football player really changed that day. I marked it on my calendar. My family talked about. I fasted that morning, just to really commemorate that day and pray about that day. It was a big day for me."
Beachum, after missing the offseason and much of the preseason while rehabilitating, has started at left tackle in four of the Jaguars' five games this season. He missed the Week 3 loss to Baltimore with the aftereffects of a concussion.
"I'm pretty pleased overall," Beachum said. "Coming into this organization, I don't think many people thought I would be back that fast. To have played this many games already, I think a lot of people are very pleased.
"But it's not just coming back for me, it's being dominant – and being the tackle I want to be. For me, I'm not there yet and I have to get there."
Jaguars defensive end Tyson Alualu will play his 100th career game Sunday. The No. 10 overall selection in the 2010 NFL Draft, Alualu never had had missed an NFL game until he was a healthy inactive for the first two games this season. "You know what you're getting from Tyson every day," Bradley said. "It was a challenging first part of the season, being down. He never wavered. He has great faith. He counts on that and the team really trusts him."
BACK AT IT
Right tackle Jermey Parnell (hip) and defensive tackle Abry Jones (hamstring) returned to practice on a limited basis Thursday after missing practice Wednesday. Wide receiver Rashad Greene (Achilles) and running back Corey Grant (toe) practiced for a second consecutive day after missing last Sunday's victory over Chicago.
In addition to Beachum, wide receiver Allen Hurns (shoulder), defensive end Jared Odrick (hip) and wide receiver Neal Sterling (foot) all missed practice after working on a limited basis Wednesday. Sterling missed Sunday's game.
Hurns on Thursday said while he couldn't have played had the game been Thursday he considers himself "day to day" for Sunday.
Safety Tashaun Gipson (knee), safety Johnathan Cyprien (calf), center Brandon Linder (foot) practiced full Thursday with cornerback Prince Amukamara (hamstring) and tight end Julius Thomas (ankle) working limited.
"We always practice it. It's part of – we do it in practice. We've gone in and out of it during the season – never to that extent or that early in the game [as they did against Chicago late in the third quarter Sunday]. … We just felt like it was a changeup that was needed to try to jumpstart us. Certainly it paid off."
--Offensive Coordinator Greg Olson on up-tempo, no-huddle offense
"You can't just run no-huddle for the entire game. That's not how it is – unless you're a guy like [former Philadelphia Eagles and current San Francisco 49ers Head Coach] Chip Kelly, where that's all he ran before. You just can't switch your whole offense to go no-huddle. You can in certain situations throughout the course of a game, but you can't base your whole game plan on it."
"He's just a true pro in all aspects of the game."
---Bradley on veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis