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Inside the Jaguars, 9/24



The Jaguars could be inching closer to being healthy.

Eben Britton and Cameron Bradfield, the Jaguars' starting left guard and right tackle, respectively, could practice Wednesday with the idea of being ready to play against Cincinnati Sunday, Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey said Monday.

Britton and Bradfield have missed the last two games with ankle injuries.

"We ran them pretty hard today (Monday)," Mularkey said. "We'll see how they feel tomorrow (Tuesday), and we'll attempt to practice both guys in a limited role (Wednesday). I'm anxious to see how they feel tomorrow."

Running back Rashad Jennings, out the last two weeks with a knee injury, also could work Wednesday. Mularkey said linebacker Daryl Smith, out since early in training camp with a groin injury, is progressing, but isn't likely to play this week.

"We're moving him into a stage of more football drills, which is a good sign," Mularkey said of Smith.

Cornerback Kevin Rutland, fullback Greg Jones, wide receiver Laurent Robinson and fullback Montell Owens all left the game with blows to the head Sunday.

Jones returned to the game, with the other three undergoing concussion tests Monday.


The phone kept ringing, but mostly it was the texts.

Cecil Shorts said while he got a ton of calls on Sunday following his 80-yard, game-winning, SportCenter-highlight touchdown reception, what was most notable was the texts.

"My phone was going crazy," Shorts said with a smile. "All last night it went crazy. There's a lot of numbers not saved on my phone, so I have no idea who they are.

"I say thank you to everybody. I never know what numbers. I don't know."

Shorts, a second-year veteran from Mount Union, twice in the Jaguars' first two games has given the team the lead with long touchdown receptions in the final minute. In the regular-season opener, he caught a 39-yard touchdown pass to give the Jaguars a 23-20 lead with 20 seconds remaining.

The Jaguars lost the opener in overtime, but Shorts said even considering a prolific college receiving career, catching the go-ahead touchdown pass isn't a familiar situation. He said the two go-ahead touchdown receptions this season were the first of his career.

"In college, we were always up by 50 points, so we never had that issue," he said, laughing. "It's a blessing. It's a blessing."

Shorts played quarterback in high school and moved to receiver at Mount Union.


"We have core guys in every phase of the game who will rally the troops. We have core guys on each side of the ball who know what it takes to win games and who will keep the young guys' heads in it and make them understand what's needed."


"It was great for us to come off a really bad loss, have a great week of practice and come out with a win. We were put in a bad spot that was self-inflicted, but we were able to make the plays to win the game. That was huge for us. We took a step forward."



"I was very happy for them. They deserved a chance to win the game and they did."


"He (quarterback Blaine Gabbert) was confident and when we went out to the field (for the final drive), we were confident. We'd done it before in Minnesota, and we'd had instances where were able to do some stuff quickly in the preseason. We were confident going out there."


"You feel like your preparation and hard work paid off. It feels good to execute. Momentum is something we needed and I believe this first one will give us a good feeling going into Cincinnati. We want to keep this thing rolling."


The wait for Justin Blackmon continues, and while Mularkey said the rookie wide receiver is finding it difficult to be patient, Mularkey said patience is necessary. Blackmon, the No. 5 overall selection in the NFL Draft last April, has caught four passes for 31 yards in three games, and he caught one pass for seven yards against the Colts Sunday. Though it's not unusual for rookie wide receivers to struggle early, Mularkey said Blackmon – the Biletnikoff Award winner his last two seasons at Oklahoma State – is pressing a bit and feeling frustrated. Mularkey said there was a play Sunday on which Blackmon likely could have had a chance for a touchdown on a double move, but Gabbert had to throw to Kevin Elliott because the protection broke down. "He has to stay patient," Mularkey said. "I told him yesterday, 'Stay patient. The ball is coming.' We'll do a better job trying to get it to him more if we can, but when we do he has to make those catches."

* *


The Jaguars will have Tuesday off before returning Wednesday for a full practice to prepare for the Cincinnati Bengals Sunday.


*A day later, Mathis didn't believe he interfered on a play in the first quarter. On the play, Mathis appeared to intercept Andrew Luck, but was called for interference. The call gave the Colts a first down, and they scored their first touchdown four plays later. "They definitely took it away, but was it pass interference? No," Mathis said. Mathis added that the NFL needs to address the ongoing issue of replacement officials. "I've been pretty quiet on the officiating, but there comes a time when everything has to be evaluated," he said. "We have to look at it as a whole as an NFL and see how it's affecting the game. It's not beating them (the replacement officials) up. Overall, it's as an NFL to get the deal done. It's not pointing fingers at the guys. It's us protecting our game."

*The Jaguars on Monday awarded game balls to running back Maurice Jones-Drew, wide receiver Cecil Shorts (offense), middle linebacker Paul Posluszny (defense) and safety Chris Prosinski (special teams).

*Mathis said he played the entire game, taking all snaps for the first time since returning from a torn ACL sustained last season. He made his first start of the season Sunday. "It felt good to be out there with my guys," he said. "I'm a competitor. I love to play this game." Cornerback Derek Cox also started for the first time this season. Cox, who had missed the previous six games with a hamstring injury, left late in the game with fatigue, according to Mularkey.

*Fourteen of rookie punter Bryan Anger's 19 punts have been over 50 yards. Through three games, he leads the AFC with a 44.1-yard net average and a 52.9-yard gross average. "He's been pretty impressive," Mularkey said. "The game hasn't fazed him."

*The Jaguars' tackling had been oft-discussed since the preseason. Posluszny said area improved against the Colts, with the defense holding running back Donald Brown to 62 yards on 18 carries. The Colts rushed for 124 yards on 29 carries, with 50 yards coming on four scrambles by quarterback Andrew Luck. "That's something that will continue to improve all year long," Posluszny said of the tackling.

*Mularkey said offensive tackle Guy Whimper played better against the Colts than in earlier games. "I love the guy, because he comes in and does the best he can for us," Mularkey said. Mularkey also said Mike Brewster played solidly at left guard.

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