JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars returned to work Wednesday.
And although that work followed two days off, Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said the aftereffects of one of the team's most physical games of the season were evident.
"We had some good work today – you could tell we were a little sore," Bradley said Wednesday as the Jaguars (2-10) prepared to play the Houston Texans (6-6) at EverBank Field in Jacksonville Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Jaguars worked in full pads Wednesday afternoon, which under league rules they can do once more this season. Bradley said the physical nature of a victory over the New York Giants at EverBank Field Sunday affected the practice early.
The Jaguars rallied from a 21-point deficit – the largest deficit overcome to win in franchise history – for a 25-24 victory Sunday, and Bradley said the game was defined as much by its physical nature as the dramatic rally.
"It was one of the more physical games (of the season), especially in the second half, the hits that were taking place," Bradley said. "There have been other plays in games where you see shots of physical, but the number of plays … hits on the sideline, inside interior, linebackers … you could just tell it was a physical game."
Asked if that was why he gave players Monday off, Bradley paused and smiled.
"I think it was more they (players) caught me (off guard), to be honest with you," he said, laughing. "Sometimes those things can really test the maturity of your team. You're like, 'OK, Victory Monday … Watch them when they come back Wednesday. What can this team handle? Are they going to come back and practice at a high level?'
"I felt like we did, but I felt like you could tell there was some soreness with the team. That sometimes happens, and you could feel the energy level pick up as practice went on."
Bradley said he expects the soreness to continue to subside as the week continues.
"It usually does," he said. "Thursday is a little bit more, Friday is a little bit more and they feel better as the week goes on."
Also Wednesday, with right tackle Austin Pasztor having been placed on season-ending injured reserve early in the day with a ruptured hamstring sustained against the Giants, the Jaguars began the week with veteran Sam Young and rookie free-agent Josh Wells competing at the position.
Bradley reiterated what offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said earlier in the day – that while Wells replaced Pasztor in the lineup Sunday, that didn't necessarily mean Wells will start.
The Jaguars kept Wells active in recent weeks because of the flexibility he provides being able to play left and right tackle. Young, a five-year veteran, has been inactive the last six games, but started at right tackle in two games early this season while Pasztor returned from a preseason hand injury.
Bradley said he hopes to decide a starter relatively early in the week.
"We'd like to decide as quickly as we can with that to get him the majority of the reps," Bradley said. "Sam Young has done a nice job when he was in there prior. He's a guy who we know what he can do, and Wells has done a nice job when he was in.
"We believe in competition, but I believe we'd like to know that pretty quickly."
Also around the Jaguars Wednesday:
*Bradley discussed the challenge presented by Texans defensive end J.J. Watt, a three-time Pro Bowl selection who many consider the NFL's best defensive player. Bradley said Watt likely is the best defensive player the Jaguars have played this season. "He's really internally driven, and he elevates everybody around him," Bradley said. "When you have that combination, that's pretty good. He's definitely a guy you have to be aware of. And it's challenging, because he plays multiple positions. … There are going to be times you're going to be one-on-one with him. We have to win those. He'll win on some as well, but that's the type of player he is." …
*The league credited defensive end Chris Clemons with a forced fumble on Sen'Derrick Marks' late-game sack of Giants quarterback Eli Manning on Sunday. Marks previously had been credited with the forced fumble. …
*Third-year defensive end Andre Branch missed practice because of the groin injury he re-aggravated against the Giants Sunday. Branch missed four consecutive games with the injury, and Bradley said the "arrow is a little more down than up" on Branch playing Sunday. "He could make great progress in the next couple of days," Bradley said. "I know it's an injury that's frustrating him because he wants to be back and play. We have to see how he responds to some of his rehab." …
*Quarterback Blake Bortles worked full in practice after having an MRI on his shoulder Monday. He also sustained an ankle sprain in the victory over the Giants, but Fisch early Wednesday said he didn't think Bortles was feeling the effects of either injury. "It appears to be really good," Bradley said of Bortles after practice. "I know he has some soreness in there, but nothing that affects him in practice or anything." Bortles was listed as working full Wednesday. …
*Linebackers LaRoy Reynolds (neck), Khairi Fortt (hamstring) and middle linebacker Jeremiah George (ankle) missed practice. The team earlier in the day signed free-agent veteran A.J. Edds, who worked out early in the day and practiced Wednesday afternoon. …
*Safety Josh Evans (foot) worked limited while Clemons (knee) and running back Toby Gerhart (shoulder) worked full. …