JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines the day that was Wednesday around EverBank Field as the Jaguars prepare to play the Denver Broncos Sunday at 1 p.m.
"IT'S ABOUT MANAGING"
JACKSONVILLE – A month remains, and attrition is now an issue.
That appeared likely for the Jaguars when multiple players left a loss in Buffalo this past weekend, and that indeed appears to be the case entering a Week 13 home matchup against the Denver Broncos Sunday.
Wide receiver Allen Hurns and running backs T.J. Yeldon and Chris Ivory were among seven Jaguars players out of practice Wednesday, a day in which 17 players – including 10 starters – appeared on the team's first injury report of the week.
The Jaguars worked without pads Wednesday.
"Right now, it's about managing," Head Coach Gus Bradley said Wednesday as the Jaguars (2-9) prepared to play the defending Super Bowl champion Broncos (7-4) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
"We went no pads again today just so we could get all periods in and go full speed instead of a walkthrough. At this point in time, we have to manage it and see how they come."
Hurns missed practice with the hamstring injury sustained when scoring a fourth-quarter touchdown against the Bills Sunday, while Ivory left the game with a first-quarter hamstring injury. Yeldon played through an ankle issue at about 75 percent capacity.
Yeldon and Ivory have rushed for 668 of 742 yards rushing by Jaguars running backs this season. Third-team back Denard Robinson has accounted for the other 74 yards rushing by running backs.
Other Jaguars players out of practice Wednesday were defensive end Jared Odrick (shoulder), tight end Julius Thomas (back), defensive end Yannick Ngakoue (ankle) and wide receiver Rashad Greene (Achilles).
Odrick and Thomas missed Sunday's loss to Buffalo and Ngakoue and Greene sustained their injuries against Buffalo.
"We might be making some decisions game day, maybe Saturday," Bradley said. "I know when I talked to [Jaguars athletics trainer] Scott [Trulock] it was a lot of arrows up, but it's on a day-to-day basis."
SCRATCHING THE SURFACE
The Jaguars' defense this season ranks No. 3 in the NFL against the pass. One reason is a secondary that is playing at its highest level since Bradley's 2013 arrival, and another is rookie pass rusher Yannick Ngakoue. The third-round selection from Maryland leads the Jaguars with six sacks, one shy of the franchise rookie record of seven set by Tony Brackens in 1996. Ngakoue had sacks in four consecutive games from Week 2-6 this season and had a sack in each of the last two games. "In those games where he didn't have sacks, he had pressure," defensive coordinator Todd Wash said, adding that Ngakoue's work habits and approach give strong indication he is "still just scratching the surface." Wash said the Jaguars challenged Ngakoue on some "effort-type" things last week. "He does try to save himself," Wash said. "He has to understand that we can rotate guys and you will be fresh. When you play, you have to go a million miles per hour. I think he really did that on Sunday. It was really good to see him ratchet up the effort. I think that is what showed up."
BACK AT IT
Otto linebacker Dan Skuta (back) defensive end Chris Smith (eye) both returned to practice on a full-speed basis Wednesday after missing games with the injuries. Defensive tackle Abry Jones returned on a limited basis after missing Sunday's loss to the Bills with an ankle injury.
Skuta had been out the past two games and Smith had missed the past three games.
Quarterback Blake Bortles (right shoulder), defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (shoulder) and center Brandon Linder (ankle) all worked full Wednesday while left tackle Kelvin Beachum (knee), defensive tackle Malik Jackson and safety Peyton Thompson (ankle) worked limited.
Offensive lineman Luke Bowanko continued to work full while remaining on the Physically Unable to Perform list while returning from a hip injury.
"We gave up so damn many explosive plays last year it was like the Fourth of July."
"You'd like to get more turnovers, but I do feel like the tight coverage is there. A lot of time interceptions come by tips and overthrows. We're just not seeing as many of those. They'll come, but I like how we're challenging all of the throws. They'll come. The guys are in great position."
"It's very important every time you play a game, but when you're at home in front of your fans it makes it that much more important. We haven't been home but once in the last five weeks. I think the guys enjoy that part of it, being in front of our crowd."
---Bradley on the Jaguars' 0-4 record at EverBank Field this season