JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines the Thursday that was around EverBank Field as the Jaguars prepared to play the Detroit Lions at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, Sunday at 1 p.m.
SMITH STATUS DAY-TO-DAY
Telvin Smith still may play for the Jaguars Sunday.
Smith, the Jaguars' starting weak-side linebacker, on Thursday missed practice for a second consecutive day in the wake of his brother's death this past weekend. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Smith has not been ruled out of the team's game against Detroit Sunday.
"Let's just see; I know he's doing everything he can," Bradley said of Smith's status for Sunday's game at Ford Field in Detroit. "He's had conversations with me, with coaches, so he's staying on top of all the game-planning things, so knowledge-wise he's in good shape.
"I think it's just the matter of seeing where his mind's at. I think that's the big thing."
Rookie Myles Jack, who has started at the team's Otto linebacker position the past six games, likely will start at weak-side linebacker if Smith does not play. That scenario likely would mean Dan Skuta starting at Otto.
"He's done a good job," Bradley said of Jack. "He's done a good job – him and Skuta and [reserve linebacker] Hayes Pullard. All three of them, they're going to have different roles if Telvin's not playing."
Smith has been away from the team all week and Bradley said he spoke to Smith Thursday morning. Bradley said he was unsure if Smith would return to the Jaguars Friday.
"That's hard," Bradley said "It's more day-to-day when I talk to him. I think his hope was to make it back, but there are some things that just came up. It's tough, as you can imagine. We're just playing it day-by-day with him, making sure that we support him with all the things that are going on for him.
"I don't want to rule him out. I think we'll just see where he is knowledge-wise and see. Let's just wait until tomorrow [Friday]."
Bradley also on Thursday addressed Wednesday's announcement that former Jaguars offensive tackle Tony Boselli had been named a semifinalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame for a second consecutive year. Boselli was one of 26 semifinalists for the 2017 class, with the list scheduled to be trimmed to 15 finalists in early January. "I'd like to congratulate Tony Boselli," Bradley said of Boselli, a color commentator on the Jaguars' radio broadcasts. "It's a great honor. I know just talking to people across the league just how much they respect him and hold him in high regard, his play. So we're pulling for him as an organization." Boselli, the No. 2 overall selection in the 1995 NFL Draft by the Jaguars, made the Pro Bowl from 1996-2000 and was a member of the NFL 1990s All-Decade team.
QUESTION OF BALANCE
The Jaguars wanted to improve the running game with Nathaniel Hackett as offensive coordinator. That meant being balanced between the run and the pass – and for the most part, Hackett said that has happened. The Jaguars rushed for a season-high 205 yards on 32 carries in Kansas City in Hackett's first game as coordinator two weeks ago. Hackett said the balance between run and pass was good against Houston this past Sunday until Houston took a double-digit second half lead. The Jaguars passed extensively after that, finishing with 49 pass attempts and running for 80 yards on 22 carries. The Jaguars rushed 14 times for 60 yards with 26 first-half passing attempts. "The run game was good," Hackett said Thursday. "We were really balanced, which I really liked. I think that it kind of got skewed a little bit there at the end. ... The run game, it was going good and I think when you're down by two scores you just kind of move on."
Telvin Smith (personal) and defensive end Chris Smith (eye) both missed practice Thursday. They were the only Jaguars players out of practice.
Left tackle Kelvin Beachum (knee), tight end Neal Sterling (foot), wide receiver Bryan Walters (concussion) and Skuta (back) all practiced limited.
"I think that when he is out of the pocket he just stops thinking and starts gaming. Trying to find a play, he is all excited to run because he loves running the ball. He always wants to try to get as many yards as he can with his feet. Then if you find someone open he just delivers it. It is one of those things, non-thinking, just go and make a play."
--Hackett on Bortles' level of play when outside the pocket
"It was a good practice again today [Thursday]. We changed up; we got into a little bit more team sessions in practice. We felt like we needed to do that with first and second downs. The players handled it pretty well and we had a good practice."