JACKSONVILLE – Changes were coming, and on Wednesday they came.
While Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said the changes by themselves will not fix the Jaguars' struggling defense, on Wednesday he announced two significant moves.
Josh Evans, a second-year veteran who started 11 games as a rookie last season, will move into the starting lineup at free safety, while fourth-year veteran J.T. Thomas – claimed off waivers shortly before the 2013 regular season – will move into the lineup at Otto linebacker.
Evans said he feels ready for the second opportunity.
"I feel like I've improved in a lot of areas, with consistency being key," Evans said Wednesday as the Jaguars (0-3) prepared to visit the San Diego Chargers (2-1) at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, California, Sunday at 4:05 p.m.
"Last year there were some things I was confused on or really didn't understand or comprehend. This year, I'm better at taking more of a leader role and making sure everybody gets set up.
"I feel like my communication has been a lot better."
Bradley officially announced the moves following a two-hour practice Wednesday at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields.
Evans moved into the lineup ahead of third-year veteran Winston Guy, Jr., with Thomas now starting ahead of second-year veteran LaRoy Reynolds. Guy and Reynolds each started the first three games of the season.
"It's not a fun day doing that," Bradley said. "You feel like as a coach you didn't help them as much as you could have, and I know they take personal responsibility. You like to have guys play up to their full possibilities."
Evans, after spending much of last season as the starting free safety, had missed much of the offseason with a foot injury and spent time in training camp third on the depth chart.
"It's a great story," Bradley said. "Josh went through a lot, with the injury and the shoulder (injury late last season). He came back and Winston was starting. He went through a period of time where he was actually competing against Winston. He got away from that and said, 'You know what? I have to trust if I play well I'm going to find a way on the field.' That's what his focus is on. It came together for him. It's a good message for the whole team, just to trust that part of it."
The Jaguars currently rank 32nd in the NFL in yards and points allowed.
"We're not playing well at all," middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said. "We know we can play a lot better than where we're at right now. We'll continue to fight to fix the problems, make some changes and get better. We know we have to play a lot better than we are right now."
Reynolds took repetitions at backup middle linebacker Wednesday. Sherrod Martin, signed as a free agent Tuesday, took repetitions at backup free safety with Guy working at strong safety.
"My conversation with Winston and LaRoy was very similar, that we really like them as players and really like their skill set," Bradley said. "But it's about consistency and about when you have opportunity to make the plays, make the plays. I think they both understood that. I was very pleased with how they came back today.
"Sometimes a shock to the system like this brings them back and elevates their level of play. Maybe that's what we'll see from them."
Also around the Jaguars Wednesday:
*Bradley said he was pleased with the intensity of practice Wednesday, adding that the team worked on tackling and some of the early-season defensive issues. "I think our whole mentality of our team is not about looking back," Bradley said. "It's about going forward. We'll learn from it. We'll grow from it. Now, let's put all of our energy into preparation." …
*Bradley also said rookie quarterback Blake Bortles had a good practice in his first full work as the starter. "Just getting into that routine, I think was really good for him,'' Bradley said.
*Bradley lauded the practice Wednesday of rookie running back Storm Johnson, and said he performed well enough that the team will talk about playing him Sunday. He has been inactive the first three games of the season while dealing with an ankle injury. …
*The scoring on a second-quarter sack by the Jaguars against Indianapolis Sunday has been changed. Officials originally credited a sack on Colts quarterback Andrew Luck with 2:00 remaining in the second quarter to defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks. It has been credited now to Marks and defensive end Red Bryant, who each are now credited with 0.5 sacks for the game. …
*Right tackle Austin Pasztor was scheduled to be evaluated after practice Wednesday regarding the hand that has kept him out since Week 2 of the preseason. He worked full last week with a protective club on the hand. He worked full again Wednesday, and Bradley said the team is trying to determine if he can get out of the club and into a device that exposes more fingers. Bradley said Sam Young played well enough at right tackle against Indianapolis that the Jaguars don't feel they need to rush Pasztor back. …
*Wide receiver Marqise Lee remained out of practice Wednesday, having missed this past Sunday's game against Indianapolis with a hamstring injury. Cecil Shorts III and Allen Robinson started against the Colts with Lee out. …
*Posluszny (ankle), tight end Mickey Shuler (illness) and fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou (ankle) also missed practice, with wide receiver Allen Hurns (ankle) taking limited repetitions.
*Cornerback Alan Ball (abdomen), running back Toby Gerhart (ankle), tight end Clay Harbor (calf), defensive tackle Roy Miller (ankle) and Pasztor all worked full. …