JACKSONVILLE – The transition hasn't been seamless, exactly.
But Head Coach Gus Bradley said the possible shifting this week in the Jaguars' linebacking corps can be effective.
In particular, Bradley said he believes veteran Geno Hayes – a weak-side linebacker since joining the team before last season – can make the transition to Otto linebacker, where he could play Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts.
"He's pretty sharp," Bradley said of Hayes as the Jaguars (1-9) prepared to play the AFC South-leading Colts (6-4) at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, Sunday at 1 p.m. "Some of the techniques we're asking him to do, he's done before, so he has some recall.
"Geno's been playing pretty well. He's pretty instinctive."
Bradley joked on Thursday that not everything has gone perfectly for Hayes this week while working on a new role.
"The first day when we were taking a look at it, he went over and lined up on the same (weak) side," Bradley said, laughing. "We were like, 'No, no, no.'"
The Jaguars on Sunday could use a linebacker corps with Hayes on the strong side, J.T. Thomas in the middle and rookie Telvin Smith on the weak side.
That grouping is possible because of recent injuries and player releases. Paul Posluszny, the starting middle linebacker to start the season, is out for the season with a torn pectoral muscle and Jeremiah George – the starting middle linebacker in Week 9 at Cincinnati – has missed practice the last two days with a high-ankle sprain.
George also missed the loss to Dallas in London just before this past week's bye.
The team released veteran Otto Dekoda Watson during the bye week. That brought about the possibility of moving Hayes to the Otto position and Smith – a rookie who has played extensively in nickel packages – to the starting weak-side role. Thomas has started five games at the Otto and two in the middle this season.
Also on Thursday, Bradley called the Jaguars' practice "spirited," and was particularly happy when discussing two exchanges in which players had to be separated.
While he wouldn't specify the players involved, he said players got into a "scuffle" at least twice during the two-and-a-half hour session at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields.
"It was good," he said, laughing. "It was just guys going after the ball, and guys came together. … We had some guys getting together and had to break them up a little bit through competition going on."
Also around the Jaguars Thursday:
*Defensive coordinator Bob Babich discussed Aaron Colvin, a rookie cornerback who is expected to work at nickel back Sunday. Colvin spent the first 10 games on the Physically Unable to Perform list recovering from a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained at a Senior Bowl practice in January. "Any time a guy comes back you just want to see him play fast," Babich said. "In practice, you're trying to just get him to go fast where he doesn't have to think quite as much. He can play fast. If you make a mistake you'd like to make it full speed. Usually when guys are thinking it slows them down physically, so we just want to make sure that we can get him in position where he can play fast and he doesn't have to think quite as much." Veteran Sherrod Martin will be the No. 1 nickel Sunday, Babich said. …
*Bradley said the presence of tight end Marcedes Lewis has been obvious in practice this week, and said there were plays that just "felt different" with the 6-feet-7, 272-pound, nine-year veteran involved. "When we ran at the tight end side, I know the whole O offensive line) felt it … I think the team really is feeling it, not only by the style of his play, but his toughness as an in-line blocker and his leadership." …
*Defensive end Andre Branch (groin) missed practice for a second consecutive day, as did George. Branch has missed the last three games.…
*Defensive end Chris Clemons (knee) missed practice after working Wednesday. Clemons this season often has not practiced Thursdays, and his absence this week was rest-related as well. Hayes also missed Thursday's practice with a veteran day off. …
*Quarterback Blake Bortles worked full for a second consecutive day with a left wrist injury, and Colvin also was listed as working full a second consecutive day. Safety Josh Evans (elbow) and right guard Brandon Linder (shoulder) worked full a second consecutive day, and right tackle Austin Pasztor (hamstring) worked full after being limited Wednesday. …
*Wide receiver Mike Brown worked full Thursday after missing Wednesday's practice for personal reasons. …