GABBERT LIKELY LIMITED
Blaine Gabbert likely won't be 100 percent in practice Wednesday.
But when it comes to the Jaguars' game against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday, Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey said he expects the second-year veteran to start at quarterback despite being limited this week with a glute injury.
"I would anticipate Blaine playing, yes," Mularkey said Monday.
Gabbert, who completed 7 of 19 passes for 53 yards in a 27-7 loss to Houston Sunday, sustained the glute (butt muscle) injury in the game. Gabbert said he wasn't sure exactly when the injury occurred, though Mularkey said Sunday it may have occurred before halftime.
Gabbert underwent an MRI on the area Monday.
Mularkey said Gabbert likely will be limited in practice Wednesday, but that he expected Gabbert to improve daily and play Sunday.
"I think it's something that will get better each day," Mularkey said.
While Gabbert was the only significant Jaguars injury Sunday, linebacker Daryl Smith (groin), running back Rashad Jennings (knee), defensive ends Austen Lane (foot) and George Selvie (knee), offensive tackle Cameron Bradfield (ankle), guard Eben Britton (ankle) and cornerback Derek Cox (hamstring) all missed the game.
Mularkey said while he doesn't expect Smith to play Sunday, Jennings, Britton and Cox could work on a limited basis this week. Mularkey said the team will have to see where Bradfield is in practice Wednesday. Mularkey said Cox should be more active in team roles this week in practice, as should Lane.
Mularkey said Cox, Britton and Jennings could have a chance to play Sunday.
Herb Taylor, acquired last week as a free agent, started at left guard in place of Britton Sunday, and Mularkey said Taylor played well enough to start Sunday if Britton again is unavailable. Mularkey said one reason Taylor started over rookie Mike Brewster was wanting to have Brewster available in case of injuries at another position.
"I was very pleased with Herb," Mularkey said.
The Jaguars after two games rank 31st in the NFL against the run.
That wasn't expected from a defense that ranked No. 6 overall in total defense a year ago, but in two games this season, the Jaguars have allowed five rushing touchdowns and 169.5 yards per game.
On Sunday, the Texans – the No. 2 rushing offense in the NFL last season – controlled the game and the clock by running, finishing with 216 yards and three touchdowns rushing on 48 carries. Arian Foster rushed for 110 yards on 28 carries, and Texans backup running back Ben Tate rushed for 74 yards and two touchdowns on 12 carries.
"We've got to focus on our fundamentals, and how they schemed against us," Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton said. "The good thing about this is we get to play them again. This will be a bad taste in our mouth for a while, but we'll have a chance to go to their house and to the same thing."
Knighton said the issue was a combination of missed tackles, and missing run fits.
"Tackling is probably the best key," Knighton said. "We'll learn from it. We won't take any steps backward."
Tackling has been an issue throughout the preseason and in the regular-season opener. Mularkey said the tackling was about the same against Houston as in the previous games.
Olympic Gold medalist Sanya Richards-Ross spoke to the Jaguars on Monday.
Her message was one of not giving up, and of overcoming obstacles, and the night before she had similar words for her husband, Jaguars cornerback Aaron Ross.
Ross, who won the Gold medal in the 400-meter dash at the London Olympics in August, was honored by the Jaguars Sunday during their loss to the Texans.
"We both have the tendency to do the same thing," Richards-Ross said. "We'll just be sitting there and we'll just kind of say, 'Ah!' – disappointment just comes out. He was trying to figure out what can we do, why did we have that loss, so I talk to him as a wife and as an athlete and told him that 'These are things that you grow from and you learn from. Watch the film, see how you can be better, see how you can inspire your team.'
"And then I also support him as his wife, and I tell him that he's the greatest and that he's going to get better and so I think we do a little bit of both. "
The Jaguars allowed Ross to take time off from training camp to attend the Olympics this summer to watch Richards-Ross run the 400. Mularkey had the event streamed on the Jumbotron at EverBank Field so players could watch it shortly afterward. Richards-Ross wanted the opportunity to personally thank the coaches, players and staff for their support.
"The younger guys look up to us (veterans) to see how we respond. We have to make sure we respond in a positive way and lead by example. We can't go out there Wednesday slouching in practice with our heads down. We have to go out with our heads up, full-speed ahead, and keep the young guys on board."
CB RASHEAN MATHIS SAYS
"It is a loss. No loss is pretty. They're all bad. Some you feel you played better than other. We can take a lot from these losses and understand as a whole we need to do better as a team and it wasn't one phase. It takes a whole. It takes offense, defense and special teams to win most games. Most of the time it takes everybody to rally the ship."
"Sometimes there's something good to come from those kinds of games. We're going to try to take the good from it. We've got a lot to learn from that game. We've got some great things to teach from that game in all three phases. I think we'll get something from it. I'm anxious to see how we respond from taking a good punch from a good opponent. I think this locker room will do a good job of that, knowing the players in there."
The Jaguars will have Tuesday off, then hold a padded practice Wednesday in preparation for a game against the Indianapolis Colts in Indianapolis, Ind., Sunday.
The focus now is on refocus. That word – refocus – has been a theme the last two days in the Jaguars' locker room, with veterans such as Rashean Mathis and Uche Nwaneri talking about the team needing to get whatever went wrong Sunday right before Indianapolis Sunday. There was a sense of urgency in their words, and with reason. While Sunday wasn't close to what the Jaguars wanted, and while 0-2 isn't either, Jaguars players are keenly aware that after two games the season is not lost. They are just as aware, though, that the time to refocus and get into contention is short, and that if that doesn't happen this week, it soon will be too late. This is a week for veterans to be veterans, and to lead, and the early indication in the locker room Monday was that it's happening. On a day when there weren't a lot of smiles, that was a needed step.
*The Jaguars' defense was on the field 83 plays Sunday. While Mularkey said the offense needs to do a better job staying on the field to prevent that, Knighton said it was no excuse for allowing 411 total yards. "We prepared ourselves for that, more mentally than physically, really, in camp," Knighton said. "We prepared for the heat. It should be an advantage for us. Being out there 80 plays, it's rough, but we go into a game prepared for that."
*Mularkey said while he didn't believe any Jaguars players played well Sunday, he didn't think Gabbert played particularly poorly. "This is his 16th start in the NFL," Mularkey said. "He's a 22-year-old young man and he's going to have some learning curves every week until he has consistent success. He's still a young quarterback in the NFL."
*Mularkey said the Jaguars' special teams took a step forward Sunday, and that he was pleased with the offense limiting its turnovers to two fumbled snaps in two games. He also said while there were no sacks, the defensive line got solid pressure on the quarterback. Aside from that, Mularkey said, "We've got a lot to work on."
*Knighton moved back into the starting lineup Sunday after playing as a reserve throughout the preseason and in the regular-season opener. "I don't really think about that," he said. "I expect to start. We have a good rotation of guys with D'Anthony (Smith), C.J. (Mosley), Tyson (Alualu) and Jeris (Pendleton). We all expect to play at a starter level when we're in there, so it really doesn't matter."