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Friday Update: Linder out Sunday, Henry remains a topic

Jacksonville Jaguars center Brandon Linder (65) readies at the line of scrimmage in the second quarter during an NFL football game against the Minnesota Vikings, Sunday, Dec. 6, 2020, in Minneapolis. The Vikings defeated the Jaguars 27-24. (AP Photo/David Berding)

JACKSONVILLE – Derrick Henry remained a topic Friday.

That's unsurprising considering the Tennessee running back's effectiveness against the Jaguars in recent seasons, and Head Coach Doug Marrone praised the All-Pro Friday.

Defensive coordinator Todd Wash on Thursday also praised Henry, and Wash and players discussed drilling during the week to prepare for Henry's stiff arm.

Marrone on Friday said the Jaguars are from alone in that area.

"I see more and more teams, when I look at the tape, using different types of techniques to handle the stiff arm," Marrone said Friday as the Jaguars (1-11) prepared to play the Titans (8-4) at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday at 1 p.m.

"It's unique that he's done such a great job at that. It's a weapon. It's something you have to defeat. It's part of what he does."

Henry (6-feet-3, 247 pounds), a fifth-year veteran, leads the NFL in rushing with 1,317 yards in 12 games. He has rushed for 798 yards and nine touchdowns in nine career games against the Jaguars, rushing for 238 yards and four touchdowns in a 2018 December game and following that with a 159-yard, two-touchdown November game last season.

"There's so much emphasis on the technique of tackling him," Marrone said. "That's the key part of it. Out of all the players from my experience as a head coach or my experience as a coach in general, I probably haven't seen more of an emphasis on how to tackle someone than it has been Derrick Henry.


The Jaguars on Friday ruled center Brandon Linder out for Sunday's game with an ankle injury sustained in a loss to the Minnesota Vikings last week. Look for veteran Tyler Shatley to start for Linder and rookie Ben Bartch to start at left guard. Four Jaguars players were listed as questionable entering the weekend: linebacker Kamalei Correa (hamstring), tight end Tyler Eifert (shoulder), cornerback Sidney Jones IV (Achilles) and cornerback Greg Mabin (hamstring). Rookie running back James Robinson, the NFL's third-leading rusher, was removed from the injury report after being limited with a knee injury Wednesday and Thursday; he and all other Jaguars players who appeared on the report this week are expected to be available Sunday.


Marrone on Friday discussed the development of defensive lineman Dawuane Smoot, who – after registering no sacks in either of his first two seasons – leads the team in sacks through 12 games this season with 4.5 after registering a career-high six last season. "It's been a different road," Marrone said of Smoot. Marrone said the team first anticipated Smoot playing the team's "big end" position, but it took until after Smoot's second season for him to add weight and begin progressing. Smoot developed last season as an inside pass rusher, which Marrone said was something the Jaguars needed. "He's strong enough to go on the outside and do very well against the run – hold the point and get the job done there," Marrone said. "He's just a guy who's been getting better with his pass-rush skill. He's always been able to defend the run well at the right position, but you've seen an increase in his pass-rush repertoire. He's good with his hands. He has made a nice progression."


Marrone on Robinson: "We've seen flashes of what we expect of him, where he's done a very good job. There have been a lot of flashes in almost every game. The consistency is what you're trying to drive for. He's working at that every single day to get that better. He has a couple of things he's working on. If he can clean a couple of things up, I think that consistency will rise."

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