MULARKEY: RETURN TO BUFFALO "NO BIG DEAL"
Mike Mularkey has been back to Buffalo before.
So, in the eyes of the Jaguars' first-year head coach, going back there again isn't that big of a deal – even though Sunday will be the first time he has returned as a head coach since he resigned the same position with the Bills shortly after the 2005 season.
"I discussed this with the local media in Buffalo, and they're trying to make it bigger than it really is," Mularkey said Wednesday as the Jaguars (2-9) prepared to play the Bills (4-7) at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park. N.Y., Sunday at 1 p.m.
"That was a long time ago. I have some really good memories."
The Bills went 9-7 in Mularkey's first season, recovering from an 0-4 start, then finished 5-11 the following season. He resigned with time remaining on his contract, and has declined to discuss publicly the specifics surrounding that decision.
"That's a personal matter, and I'm going to leave it at that," Mularkey said, adding, "I'm very proud of the things that we accomplished, especially in 2004. There are disappointments there as well – just like every place I've been.
"You get the highs we have and have the lows of losing playoff games. Those are things that will bother me my whole life, but there's also very memorable things that took place and that 2004 season is one of them that I am very proud of with what we accomplished."
Running back Maurice Jones-Drew missed practice Wednesday, and likely will miss a sixth consecutive game with a foot sprain.
While Mularkey didn't want to officially rule Jones-Drew out of the Buffalo game, the head coach said Wednesday it was unlikely he would play Sunday. He sustained a foot injury against the Oakland Raiders on October 21 and has been out since.
Also missing practice for the Jaguars Wednesday were cornerback Derek Cox (hamstring), defensive tackle Tyson Alualu (calf), defensive end Austen Lane (foot) and center Brad Meester (foot).
Cornerback Rashean Mathis (groin) and fullback Greg Jones (thigh) were limited.
Mularkey said he wouldn't rule out Cox – who missed the second half of the victory over the Titans – as of Wednesday.
"He looked better than I thought he was going to after the game this week, Tuesday and Wednesday," Mularkey said.
"We want to find the best runs, the best formations, the best personnel groupings to give us an edge, and we'll continue to do that. I thought we were very balanced last week and that's what this offense is designed for. We could use some more explosive runs. We had a number of explosive passes which I think helped us win. The runs certainly help, and get some bigger chunks."
"Coach Mularkey's mentality is we're not going to give up – we're not a give-up group and neither are the coaches. We are in it together. Whether people are with us or behind us, we're going to stay together as a locker room and as a team. Character builds a lot of things. There is a great bond and everybody believes in each other that we can get this done."
WR CECIL SHORTS SAYS
"The more reps you get with him (Henne), and I think practice helps too, you get more comfortable with him. Like I said before, he knows where we are supposed to be, we know where he wants us to be, so with that being said you know the sky is the limit for the offense."
Running back Jalen Parmele's season wasn't statistically eye-catching, but Mularkey won't soon forget it – and that's particularly true of his final game. Mularkey lauded Parmele's effort immediately following a victory over Tennessee Sunday, and did so again Wednesday – a day after the team placed him on injured reserve. "Maybe one of the tougher performances I've seen in person and on tape in my career," Mularkey said. Parmele sustained the groin injury that eventually ended his season early Sunday, then played through the injury despite knowing it likely would keep him out at least a game. "I wanted to get as much in as I could," Parmele said. "I felt I could still move on it somehow. That's kind of how that transpired." Parmele said the situation is "frustrating to an extent, but it's part of football. It's unfortunate, and it ended abruptly, but it's part of the game. I just have to get healthy and get ready for next season." Parmele rushed for 45 yards on eight carries against Tennessee and finished the season with 143 yards on 40 carries.
The Jaguars will have a non-padded practice Thursday and another Friday as they continue preparing for Sunday's game against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium in Orchard Park, N.Y.
*Running back Rashad Jennings will get another chance to start at running back Sunday. He started Week 1 in the wake of Jones-Drew's holdout, then started four games with Jones-Drew injured before the Jaguars inserted Parmele into the starting lineup. Jennings has rushed for 263 yards and two touchdowns on 93 carries this season. "We will have a rotation, but Rashad Jennings will start," Mularkey said.
*The Jaguars this week awarded game balls to the following players for their performance in Sunday's victory over the Titans: Parmele (offense), linebacker Russell Allen (defense) and fullback Montell Owens (special teams).
*Henne said it's reasonable to assume the Bills will utilize the blitz Sunday, particularly after the Titans did so this past week and registered seven sacks. That was the most allowed by the Jaguars this season. But Henne also said the Bills front, a group that includes end Mario Williams (8.5 sacks) and tackles Marcell Darius (3.5 sacks) and tackle Kyle Williams (5.0 sacks) can generate pressure by itself. "With Buffalo's front four, that starts everything," he said. "We've got to be able to protect, get the ball out on time, stay in rhythm and if they do pressure know where to go with the football quickly and have our guys make plays off of it."
*Henne, like several other Jaguars players, grew a moustache for "Movember," but said after throwing six touchdown passes in the last two games he's in no hurry to shave. "If we keep on the winning streak we'll let it ride for a little bit," he said.