BACK TO WORK
It was a short practice, and Dwight Lowery didn't participate full go, but after a month with little activity . . . well, this had to be a good feeling, didn't it?
"It wasn't a bad one," Lowery said, smiling.
Lowery, the Jaguars' starting free safety, on Monday worked on the side along with cornerback Rashean Mathis as the Jaguars went through their first practice of the week in preparation for the Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, Sunday.
For Lowery, it was his first extensive work after missing the last four games with an ankle injury.
"It's something I've been working toward," Lowery said. "Things are going well. We'll see how it continues to progress, but so far, so good."
Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey said it was too early to determine a game status for either player, calling the day "a good phase" for both. Mathis has missed the last three games with a groin injury.
"The next step is limited reps in practice," Mularkey said, and Lowery added, "Every day's a step forward. That's how you have to take everything. You feel all kind of emotions, and at the same time, when you watch the game from a distance, you see a lot of different type of stuff.
"I learned a lot during this time and I think I'll be able to come back and provide this team a spark."
JONES-DREW LIKELY TO REMAIN OUT
Jaguars running back Maurice Jones-Drew likely will miss a fourth consecutive game Sunday, Mularkey said on Monday.
Jones-Drew, the NFL's leading rusher last season, has been out the last three games with a sprained foot sustained on the first play of the Jaguars' loss at Oakland. Mularkey on Monday said he probably won't play against Houston.
Mularkey also said the status of fullback Greg Jones (hip) is uncertain.
Quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who has left two of the last four games with an injury to his non-throwing shoulder, likely will play Sunday, Mularkey said. Gabbert left in the second quarter of the loss at Oakland, then after playing the entire game in losses to Detroit and Green Bay he left early in the fourth quarter of a loss to Indianapolis last Thursday.
"The time off helped him Saturday and Sunday," Mularkey said. "He'll have tomorrow (Tuesday) off, so that time off will be good for him."
"We try to score every time. Is it feasible? I'd like to see if we really put a whole game together. There are still a number of things that are preventing us from seeing how good we can be offensively. I don't think we've seen it all year long."
DE JEREMY MINCEY SAYS
"Coaching is definitely not the problem. We have to go out there and make plays. People say what they want to say about anything, but the players make the plays. If you understand the grand scheme of what the coach is trying to do, and you see what he's trying to fulfill, he can only do so much. The players have to make the play. The player has to catch the ball. The player has to tackle the guy. You have to do all of those in order to win."
The Jaguars will be off Tuesday, then hold a padded practice Wednesday as they prepare for Sunday's game against the AFC South-leading Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.
*With or without Jones-Drew, the Jaguars' running game has struggled in recent weeks – and Mularkey said that's something that needs to change. The Jaguars have rushed for less than 70 yards in each of the last six games dating to a Week 3 victory over the Colts. "That's something that's important in our philosophy," Mularkey said. "Balance is very important. We have to find a way to get that thing rolling."
*Mularkey said while the Jaguars still dropped too many passes against the Colts – four, which is right at the Jaguars' season average – overall the team cut its mental mistakes about in half Thursday against the Colts. Mularkey said the mental errors reduced were in areas such as identifying defenses, making correct pre-snaps adjustments, etc. Drops have been a season-long issue, and Mularkey said it continues. "We've got to fix that," he said. "That will be a spark in itself."