BRINGING THE STICK
Call this a cross-sport visual aid.
Whatever you call it, the point Mel Tucker was making on Thursday was clear: it's time to create more big plays, and specifically more turnovers.
Tucker, the Jaguars' assistant head coach/defensive coordinator, brought to practice on Thursday a hockey goalie stick to emphasize the point that when the defense gets a shot at a takeaway it's a crucial moment that must be capitalized upon.
"When we take a shot at the ball on a strip or a punch on a ball, we call it a 'shot on goal,''' Tucker said as the Jaguars (1-2) prepared to play the Cincinnati Bengals (2-1) at EverBank Field Sunday at 4:05 pm.
Tucker said while he has used the shot-on-goal analogy for a couple of years, this was the first time he had actually brought the stick to practice.
"You get what you emphasize, right?'' he said.
The Jaguars through two games have forced two fumbles, recovering one. The recovery came from defensive tackle C.J. Mosley after defensive tackle Terrance Knighton forced Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder to fumble in Week 1.
The Jaguars on Thursday announced they will move to black as a primary jersey color.
Sunday's game against the Cincinnati Bengals at EverBank Field, a game that coincides with Alumni Weekend and the induction of running back Fred Taylor into the Pride of the Jaguars, will be the last game in which teal serves as a primary color, Owner Shad Khan said in a statement on Thursday.
"As a nod of tribute to Fred and all of the players who have worn the Jaguars' teal uniform in the past, this Sunday on Jaguars Alumni Weekend we will wear teal for the last time as our primary home jersey," Khan said. "After this Sunday's game, we will wear black as our primary jersey and teal will be reserved for special occasions as our alternate jersey. Teal will continue to be a part of our uniform and our logo, but on the field our identity will grow in black jerseys."
The Jaguars wore black as a third 'alternate' jersey up to two games a season in a past seasons, but not since 2009. The first game with black as the primary home jersey will be October 7 against Chicago.
ROBINSON MISSES PRACTICE, BRITTON FULL
Wide receiver Laurent Robinson missed practice for a second consecutive day Thursday.
Robinson, who sustained a blow to the head Sunday in a victory over Indianapolis, was listed as did not practice on the team's injury report, one of three players to have missed practice each of the last two days.
Linebacker Daryl Smith (groin) and defensive end George Selvie each missed the last two practices, and Head Coach Mike Mularkey said this week it's unlikely either will play.
Robinson, along with fullback Montell Owens and cornerback Kevin Rutland, passed concussion tests early in the week Monday. All three were cleared to practice this week.
Also Thursday, guard Eben Britton and tackle Cameron Bradfield each practiced full, making it more likely the tandem will start Sunday after missing the past two games with ankle injuries. Bradfield had worked full Wednesday with Britton working limited.
Defensive end Austen Lane (foot) and running back Rashad Jennings (knee) worked full Thursday for a second consecutive day. Defensive tackle Tyson Alualu and center Brad Meester returned to practice after missing Wednesday for non-injury reasons.
C BRAD MEESTER SAYS
"He (former Jaguars running back Fred Taylor) was so many things. I loved the way he conducted himself on the field and off the field. He did things the right way, always. When he was out there in practice, he was giving everything. On the field, during games, he was the energy for everybody. Everybody fed off of him. He was a guy you could sit down and talk to, a great family man – I think that's what everybody truly loved about him, was how he was such a good person on and off the field."
TE MARCEDES LEWIS SAYS
"Fred, by far, was one of the best people I have ever met in my life. It didn't matter if I played tight end or running back, he took me under his wing. He was one of the first ones to ever touch me, coach me up and talk to me. It's all real with Fred. He's one of those dudes who can command a room when he walks into it. It was a blessing to come across somebody like that."
It was significant Thursday that Tucker talked to the team about creating turnovers, using a hockey stick as a teaching tool. The Jaguars entered this season emphasizing creating turnovers and making big plays, and as much as anything defensively, that's what has lacked on that side of the ball. The Jaguars in three regular-season games have had opportunities. There was early pressure on the passer against Minnesota, and the pass rush got close at least four or five times against Indianapolis. Defensive players also had chances for at least two interceptions against Minnesota and five against Indianapolis. Thus far this season, the Jaguars have two sacks and two takeaways – Mosley's fumble recovery and an interception by Paul Posluszny. Defenses almost always have opportunities in games. The defenses that turn momentum in their team's favor are the ones that take advantage of the opportunities when they occur.
The Jaguars will work Friday without full pads in preparation for the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday.
*Meester said while backups have done an admirable job the last two weeks in the wake of injuries along the offensive line, getting Bradfield and Britton back into the lineup will be beneficial. Britton and Bradfield started the opener, but sustained ankle injuries in the first half against Minnesota. "They do a tremendous job," Meester said. "Cam does a tremendous job at tackle, and Eben – he's such an emotional boost. It's great to have him back out there. He's physical out there, and brings that emotional side to it, too."
*Cornerback Derek Cox not only returned from a hamstring injury last week, he played 40 plays at a high level before leaving in the second half because of fatigue. Mularkey said earlier this week he expects Cox to again start opposite veteran Rashean Mathis. "For me, I had to take care of things physically, but the biggest challenge was remaining in it mentally," Cox said. "I felt like I was able to do that." Cox said throughout the offseason he believed he was ready for the best season of his career. "You get hungry sitting on the side waiting to play," Cox said. "You develop a hunger, so to get a chance to play with your team, and come back and get a win, it's a high. I'm still riding that."