JACKSONVILLE – The wide receiver situation is in something of an upward trend.
Wide receiver Tandon Doss, a veteran offseason free-agent signee who missed much of the Jaguars' offseason and training camp with injuries, returned to practice on a limited basis Monday, the same day second-year receiver Ace Sanders practiced full for the first time this preseason/training camp.
Rookie receiver Allen Robinson, out much of the offseason and training camp with a hamstring injury, worked on the side in practice Monday.
Robinson's work wasn't a return to practice, and Sanders won't be able to participate in the team's first four games, but the day was a step forward for a group that has had multiple extended absences throughout the offseason and training camp.
"They just got a couple of reps here and there, but obviously it's good to get them back," Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Monday after the Jaguars worked for about an hour, 55 minutes in 84-degree temperatures at the Florida Health and Wellness Practice Fields.
"It's unfortunate that guys like Tandon and Ace weren't here, but it feels a little bit different when they're out there, too."
Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III said the timing is right for the receivers' return.
"We're getting right at the right time," Shorts said. "It's going to be fun."
Doss, who signed with the team as a free agent in the offseason, sustained an ankle injury early in training camp. Bradley said the hope is for Doss to play Thursday in the preseason finale at EverBank Field against the Atlanta Falcons.
He could return punts early in the season, having led the NFL in punt-return average with the Baltimore Ravens last season. Cornerback Will Blackmon has returned punts during the preseason.
Bradley said the team would like Doss to get repetitions returning punts Thursday.
"He took some returns (Monday) and he also took receiver reps," Bradley said. "Our fingers are crossed that he'll be able to play."
Sanders, a second-year veteran who missed training camp and the first three preseason games to attend to personal issues, returned to practice Monday after having attended practice without working full Sunday. He also came off the active/non-football injury list Monday.
"I just have to get back used to playing in the extreme conditions," Sanders said. "It felt great (Monday) and with that sun being covered, I felt really good."
Sanders – who also returned punts last season and could play there again this season – will be suspended the first four games of the regular season under the NFL's substance-abuse policy, but could play Thursday. Sanders caught a long pass for a touchdown in practice from rookie quarterback Stephen Morris, Bradley said.
"We gave him minimal reps, and it was great to have him out there," Bradley said. "You see his speed. I don't know if he's in game shape where he could go 30 or 40 plays in a row, but we'll gradually work him into that."
Also on Monday, cornerback Alan Ball missed practice after leaving Sunday's work with a rib contusion and cornerback Jamelle Fleming returned to practice after sustaining an oblique injury Sunday. Safety Winston Guy missed practice with a quad contusion.
Defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks (shoulder), kicker Josh Scobee (quad) and Zane Beadles (calf contusion) missed a second consecutive day of practice, with offensive tackle Austin Pasztor (hand), offensive tackle Josh Wells (shoulder), safety Craig Loston (hamstring), wide receiver Allen Robinson (hamstring), and tight end Clay Harbor (calf) all missing practice.
Rookie wide receiver Marqise Lee and defensive tackle Abry Jones missed practice for personal reasons. Linebacker Geno Hayes had a veterans day off.
*The Jaguars moved practice from an early afternoon start to an 11:15 a.m. start to avoid possible rain. Bradley said the Jaguars completed all planned work despite the change. "It was good we got it in," he said. "I thought the guys adjusted well to it." …
*Bradley said while the team will introduce some of what the Falcons do defensively and offensively there will be limited game-planning for Thursday's game. "It's another chance for us to evaluate at all positions, so we'll use it accordingly," Bradley said. …
*Bradley said Allen Robinson will not play Thursday, but that he is working up to being able to run full speed straight ahead. The focus now is on change of direction, and Bradley said the hope is he can play in the regular-season opener September 7 at Philadelphia.
The Jaguars continued preparation for Thursday's game against the Atlanta Falcons.