PROSINSKI TO START
Chris Prosinski will make his first NFL start on Sunday.
Prosinski, the Jaguars' backup safety the first five games of the season, will start in place of injured Dwight Lowery when the team visits Oakland Sunday, Head Coach Mike Mularkey said.
The Jaguars signed veteran Chris Harris Monday, and when asked that day who would start for Lowery, Mularkey left open the possibility Harris could start. But on Wednesday, Mularkey confirmed that Prosinski will start.
Mularkey said Prosinski's tackling dropped off in the four games since the regular-season opener, and that improvement there is a "must" against the Raiders and running back Darren McFadden.
"I have a lot of confidence in Chris," Mularkey said. "He's very smart. I know (defensive coordinator/assistant head coach) Mel (Tucker) trusts him to do the things we're going to do defensively in this scheme, and it's a chance for him to show where he's at right now in his career.
"He's a young player that works really hard and studies and prepares to have his chance. I'm anxious to see how he takes it and runs."
Mularkey called Harris' experience "invaluable."
"He definitely can play in certain spots and certain things we're going to do schematically, but Chris Prosinski is going to start the game," Mularkey said.
CHICK RETURNS TO PRACTICE
John Chick's wait ended Wednesday. At last.
Chick, a defensive end who registered 2.5 sacks as a first-year player for the Jaguars last season, practiced on Wednesday for the first time this season. He had been on the Physically Unable to Perform list with a patellar tendon injury since the beginning of training camp.
"It's been a while since I put the pads on, so I'm excited to get out there," Chick said.
Chick, the 2009 CFL Defensive Player of the Year, signed with the Jaguars early last season after spending much of 2011 on the Colts' practice squad. He was one of the team's best outside pass rushers last season before sustaining a season-ending injury in early December against San Diego.
"My biggest thing is always confidence," Chick said. "I feel confident. I just have to go out there and make sure.
The Jaguars have three weeks to activate Chick, release him or place him on injured reserve. Until then, he does not count against the team's 53-man roster.
Laurent Robinson remains out and is unlikely to play Sunday.
Robinson, a starter at wide receiver the first four weeks of the season, remains in the team's concussion program and likely won't play against the Raiders, Mularkey said. That means second-year wide receiver Cecil Shorts likely will start Sunday.
Robinson and Lowery were the two players not practicing because of injuries Wednesday, with center Brad Meester and defensive tackle Tyson Alualu getting their normal Wednesdays off for non-injury reasons.
Linebacker Daryl Smith (groin) and safety Dawan Landry (knee) worked limited, with Smith's status expected to be determined later in the week and Landry expected to return Thursday or Friday, Mularkey said Monday. Defensive end George Selvie (knee) worked full Wednesday.
"It's good to be back here. It's really good to be back getting ready for a game, actually game planning, scheming, and strategy that goes into it and transferring that over to the players and getting out for a walkthrough. I think everyone's back to a normal routine."
MAURICE JONES-DREW SAYS
"It's another game. I'm from around Oakland and that's nice, but talking to my family members over the bye week, over the last couple of days, I'm not going to see them until Sunday so they told me I need to focus and that's good, it's a great thing. I'll be with the team waiting until the game and I'll see them after the game."
BLAINE GABBERT SAYS
"We haven't played a perfect game yet on offense. When we do that we'd like to see how we match up with people. We know we have the talent here but we just have to physically do it on the field."
If the Jaguars are going to get Jones-Drew more involved, they need to be in a better situation to do it. Jones-Drew, the Jaguars' three-time Pro Bowl running back, in the last two games before the bye week rushed 25 times for 94 yards – that in the wake of a 28-carry, 177-yard performance in a victory over Indianapolis. The major difference was that while the Jaguars trailed 14-3 at halftime against Indianapolis they never got further behind than that, whereas in the last two weeks before the bye they trailed by double digits throughout the fourth quarter. "I think the big thing is not falling behind," Jones-Drew said. "When you fall behind you have to do what you can to try and get back into the game." Jones-Drew remains one of the NFL's best players at his position, but if the Jaguars continue falling behind he'll have a tough time matching his output the last three seasons.
The Jaguars will practice without pads Thursday and Friday, then travel to Oakland to play the Raiders on Sunday.
*Jones-Drew is known as a player unafraid to voice his opinion, and he said that has remained true this season. Asked on Wednesday if he was comfortable enough with the Jaguars' coaching staff to approach them with ideas, he smiled. "I did that Week One," he said. Jones-Drew reported to the Jaguars the Sunday before the regular season after an extended holdout. "As soon as I got here I did it, so I guess we've been comfortable since the day we met," he said.
*A key for the Jaguars defensively this week: stopping Raiders running back Darren McFadden, one of the NFL's best breakaway runners. While McFadden has struggled at times this season, averaging less than 3.0 yards per carry in four of five games, he also had a 64-yard run for a touchdown against Pittsburgh. "Home run threat every time he touches the ball," Mularkey called him.
*Rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon has caught 13 passes for 119 yards this season. While he has been targeted a team-high 33 times this season compared to 19 for Shorts (second on team), Mularkey said Wednesday he would make an effort to get Blackmon more touches. "Some of the things he did when he caught the ball, I could just see in his eyes he was like, 'Give me the ball more, I will help,''' Mularkey said. "I like that competitive nature about the guy, so we're going to see what we can do to help him out and get him the ball."