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Inside the Jaguars: Big plays needed


JACKSONVILLE – Jedd Fisch won't say the running offense has been good this season.

In fact, when asked Thursday if the running offense had made the progress he'd hoped in recent weeks, the Jaguars' offensive coordinator smiled.

"No, it has not," he said with an exaggerated grin.

At the same time, he said it's not necessarily far from doing so – and he said the reasons for the struggles this season are varied.

"The run game is a totality of many things," Fisch said as the Jaguars (1-9) prepared to play the Houston Texans (2-8) at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, Sunday at 1 p.m.

"The run game is not just, 'Are we executing our single blocks. Are we executing our one on ones? Are we executing our gap scheme? Are we executing our fullback?' Our run game is really all 11 (players).''

The Jaguars rank 32nd in the NFL in rushing, having rushed for 1.8 yards a carry against Tennessee and 2.0 yards a carry against Arizona last week.

"It's about every week coming in and saying, 'OK, we're going to try this scheme,' or, 'This week we're going to do this,'" Fisch said. "It's not that. It's getting there and being consistent at all the positions and continuing to improve."

Fisch said several weeks ago the main element missing from the running game has been big plays. He reiterated Thursday that the Jaguars have been close – often a step or a trip-up away – in that area, and that a few big runs will make the overall running offense significantly more productive.

"The problem we're having is we're not getting any 'X'-play runs," Fisch said. "If you don't get an 'X' play run, you're never going to have more than 60 yards rushing. Statistically, you'll never have it. Until we break a few, we'll be hovering in that 40-to-60-yard range.

"That's not good enough. We have to get better there."

Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley Thursday said while running back Maurice Jones-Drew will start and get the majority of carries Sunday, reserves Jordan Todman and Justin Forsett also will get carries.

Also Thursday:

*Asked if the Jaguars had ruled out the possibility of Blaine Gabbert starting at quarterback again this season, Fisch replied, "No, we have not ruled that out at all." Gabbert started the regular-season opener and three games total this season, but Henne has started the last three games with Gabbert healthy….

*Defensive tackle Roy Miller missed a second consecutive day with a shoulder injury, an absence Bradley said was about coaches wanting to give him two days off this week instead of his normal one to rest the shoulder. "We're going to see with two days off how much it helps it," Bradley said….

*Middle linebacker Paul Posluszny (concussion) and guard Will Rackley (concussion) worked full after being limited Wednesday, as did tight end Danny Noble (hamstring)….

*Outside linebacker Geno Hayes missed a second consecutive practice with swelling in his knee, Bradley said. "I think it's just something he's going to have to deal with," Bradley said. Wide receivers Mike Brown (shoulder) and Stephen Burton (concussion) also missed a second consecutive day….

*Bradley said the hope is that Hayes and Brown will be able to practice Friday. Bradley said Brown said he made progress Thursday….

*Fisch said if Brown can't play, Kerry Taylor will play a significant role. Cecil Shorts III is expected to start at one receiver, with rookie Ace Sanders possibly starting opposite Shorts and Taylor also playing extensively. With Burton not practicing and Stephen Williams (Achilles) limited Thursday, Jeremy Ebert could be signed from the practice squad. "If he (Brown) can go, he'll be able to go," Fisch said. "He's extremely smart and understands the game. He understands what we're trying to get done, so even without practicing, he would be able to play. If not, Kerry Taylor will be in there.'"…

*Taylor, who signed with the Jaguars November 4 off the Arizona practice squad, was inactive against Tennessee and caught two passes for 20 yards against Arizona Sunday. "You never want to see a teammate get hurt, but when that is part of the sport, you know that's your opportunity to step up and make a name for yourself," Taylor said….

*Fisch said the Jaguars are accustomed to adjusting at receiver this season. Not only has Justin Blackmon missed six games because of suspension, Brown has missed four and Sanders has missed one. Shorts also missed much of the Denver games with an AC joint injury. "We've had a revolving door," Fisch said….

*The following players were limited Thursday: cornerback Will Blackmon (shoulder), cornerback Dwayne Gratz (hip), safety Winston Guy (hamstring), defensive tackle Abry Jones (back), Shorts (groin), Taylor (toe) and Williams…

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