Rashean Mathis should have played more Sunday, and likely will in the near future.
That was the view of Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey Monday, who said he made a mistake Sunday not playing the veteran cornerback more in a loss to the Buffalo Bills.
"He'll play more," Mularkey said.
Mathis, who returned this season after missing the last month and a half last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, played just eight snaps Sunday. He had missed four games with a groin injury, but Mularkey said he spoke to Mathis and told him he should have played him earlier and more against the Bills.
"That's nobody's fault but mine," Mularkey said. "It wasn't like they were throwing the ball all the time, but I should have had him in the game. I told him, 'I made a mistake.'''
Mularkey said the team had been focusing on strengthening the muscles in Mathis' leg much of this season, and that he had played 50 snaps the previous week against Tennessee.
"I told him, 'I should have put you in earlier and you should have played more than you did,''' Mularkey said. "And he will. We need him to play. We need his leadership on the field. He has handled the situation extremely well."
Mularkey said Mathis' lack of playing time was not a matter of the former Pro Bowl cornerback being "phased out."
"He knows that," Mularkey said. "I conveyed that to him."
Cecil Shorts will begin the week in the team's concussion program.
Shorts, a second-year wide receiver who leads the Jaguars with seven touchdown receptions, sustained a concussion in the fourth quarter Sunday after he had caught seven passes for 77 yards and a touchdown. He left the game and did not return.
Mularkey said in addition to Shorts, running back Rashad Jennings and defensive end George Selvie will be in the program with concussions sustained Sunday.
"They're in the concussion program and will be tested (Tuesday)," Mularkey said.
Starting guard Mike Brewster sustained a broken hand Sunday, and though he returned to the game, Mularkey said his status will be evaluated this week. Veteran Eben Britton played in his place for about a quarter and a half Sunday.
"He did OK," Mularkey said, adding that Brewster could be fitted with cast to allow him to play. "You can cast it a specific way now that you know the injury."
Cornerback Aaron Ross will be day-to-day with a calf strain, while Mularkey said he expects cornerback Derek Cox (hamstring) to practice limited Wednesday after missing Sunday.
Mularkey also said he hopes defensive end Austen Lane (foot) can practice this week.
"We didn't play well enough in a lot of areas, and didn't give ourselves a chance from the beginning."
FB MONTELL OWENS
"That's what this team has done all year. When guys have gone down, when someone needs to step in and fill a role, this team hasn't blinked. We've seen guys step and fill roles they haven't played all year. Whether that's the case or not, this team is prepared to play and I'm prepared to play."
DE JEREMY MINCEY SAYS
"As a group, we've got to get better every week. I know we took a step back this week, but we've got to pick ourselves back up."
C BRAD MEESTER SAYS
"We're doing the right things. It obviously didn't go our way Sunday, but if we keep doing the right things, things will go the right way for us."
As Mularkey sees it, dropped passes have pretty much been an issue for the Jaguars all season. They remained that way again Sunday against the Bills. The Jaguars began the game with a couple dropped passes by recently-acquired wide receiver Jordan Shipley, and rookie wide receiver Justin Blackmon – who drew several interference penalties during the game – also had a couple of potential receptions dropped. For the game, Mularkey said the Jaguars counted four drops, which is about average for the 12 games this season. "That's too many," he said.
The Jaguars will be off Tuesday and return to practice Wednesday to begin full preparations for Sunday's game against the New York Jets at EverBank Field.
- The Jaguars on Sunday allowed a season-high 242 yards rushing, the third time this season they have allowed more than 200 yards rushing. They also allowed 216 in a Week 2 loss to the Texans and 214 in a Week 6 loss to the Bears. "I was disappointed," Mincey said. "The one thing about it is we stop the run. That's the Jaguars' identity. We've got to work even harder, and smarter, and take the last games and learn from our mistakes and get better for next year." Mularkey said there were too many cases of the Jaguars losing leverage and contain in run defense against a team that featured two running backs – Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller – capable of consistently making long runs. "You have to have that when you have guys with the capability of making something out of nothing," Mularkey said.
- Defensive end Jason Babin, who started Sunday after being acquired off waivers last week, graded out well Sunday despite not having a sack, Mularkey said. "I was impressed with him," Mularkey said. "The guy's relentless and it's not just in his pass rush. You can see him throwing his body around in the run game." Mularkey didn't believe Babin should have been penalized for a hit in the second quarter on which he drew a penalty for hitting Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. "I thought he did well," Mularkey said.