David Garrard sent positive signals when he met with reporters on Thursday. Garrard made it sound as though there's a distinct chance he will be able to play on Sunday when the Jaguars face the Titans in Nashville.
"It felt pretty good. I'm very optimistic right now," Garrard said of his sprained left ankle, which he tested in a limited way in Wednesday's practice.
"It felt to me like I could move if I had to. If I don't play this week, I know I'd definitely be able to play next week," Garrard said.
Garrard sustained a high-ankle sprain on Oct. 22 and has missed the last two games. Quinn Gray replaced Garrard at quarterback and is approaching this week's game as though he'll make his third consecutive start.
"I've been taking snaps with the first team. Dave is feeling better. I don't know," Gray said when asked to assess his chances of making another start. "I'm preparing as if I'm going to play."
"I'm going to leave it up to the coaches," Garrard said of the decision as to whether he plays or sits out another week.
What if the coaches leave it up to you, he was asked?
"Of course, I want to play. If they leave it up to me, that's definitely the answer they're going to get," Garrard said.
The 6-2 Titans can take a giant step toward the number one wild-card playoff spot with a win over the Jaguars. Should the Colts lose in San Diego on Sunday, a win over the Jags would even move the Titans into a tie with the Colts for the AFC South lead.
Jacksonville, 5-3, is in a strong position for the number two wild-card spot and will keep a close eye on the Cleveland (5-3) at Pittsburgh (6-2) game. Clearly, this weekend will go a long way toward defining the playoff picture in the AFC.
"It's real important to get back to playing Jaguars football; playing good defense. That's the focus this week," middle linebacker Mike Peterson said.
The Jaguars defense has fallen to number 24 in the league and is still stinging from the 282 yards rushing the Titans hung on the Jags in the season-opener. After having allowed 445 yards passing to the Saints this past Sunday, the Jaguars are desperate to repair their image for strong, physical defensive play.
"Once we get back to playing good, solid football and get our running game going, we'll be fine," Gray said.
Some believe it's a must that the Jaguars do that this week.