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Inside the Jaguars: Making the adjustment


JACKSONVILLE – The only approach is the same approach.

As offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch sees it, the Jaguars' offense has been without key players before this season, so to now be without wide receiver Justin Blackmon creates the same situation.

It's a long way from ideal, but it is reality.

And all the Jaguars can do is what they did before – have other players play, have other players fill roles, and have other players produce in his place.

"We've been able to see guys stepping up, and that's the No. 1 adjustment," Fisch said Thursday afternoon as the Jaguars (0-8) prepared to play the Tennessee Titans (4-4) at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday at 1 p.m.

"We've kind of been dealt some cards we weren't necessarily planning on at the start of the season, with injuries throughout the season. We have to treat it as, 'One Man Down, Next Man Up.'"

The Jaguars rank 32nd in the NFL in total offense through eight games, but showed marked statistical improvement in the last four games – the four Blackmon played after returning from a four-game season-opening suspension.

The Jaguars didn't have a 300-yard game offensively in the first four games, and with Blackmon playing the last four games, they didn't have a game under 300 yards.

Blackmon was suspended indefinitely last Friday and will not return this season.

Fisch said wide receivers Mike Brown, Ace Sanders and Stephen Burton will play bigger roles with Blackmon out, and said whereas tight end Marcedes Lewis played just part of one series in the first four games because of a calf injury, he now will be in the lineup.

"It will be one of those deals where we just mix and match and figure out different ways to continue to move the ball," Fisch said.

Fisch said the offense also could benefit from having Brown in the lineup. He caught one pass in the season opener, but after sustaining a cracked vertebra in that loss to the Kansas City, he did not play again until a Week Six loss at Denver.

"He's made really good progress each week," Fisch said of Brown. "We felt good about him in preseason. We felt good about him in training camp, but then, of course, we missed him for those few weeks. So not only did we not have Justin the first four weeks, we didn't have Mike, either."

Fisch said he spoke to the Jaguars' offensive players Thursday about not trying to do too much in an effort to make up for Blackmon's absence.

"You don't have to play at a different level than you were going to play if Justin was here," Fisch said. "If you start trying to be somebody else or try to step in somebody else's shoes, all you're going to do is add pressure and stress to yourself that's unnecessary. (Wide receiver) Cecil (Shorts III) just needs to be the best he can play, he needs to go out there and treat it just as if it was any other situation for him, and that's what all of those guys' challenge is.

"Just like I told (quarterback) Chad (Henne), you don't need to now have to be more accurate because you have one less guy, you just have to be more accurate because that's what you're coached to do. And that's the same for everyone on the team."

Also around the Jaguars Thursday:

*Offensive guard Will Rackley missed practice Thursday after working on a limited basis Wednesday. He had concussion symptoms Thursday morning, but Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Rackley could practice Friday. Mike Brewster took first-team repetitions in Rackley's place Thursday. "We're just being more cautious than anything with him," Bradley said.

*Shorts missed practice Thursday with a groin injury after working limited Thursday, but Bradley said Shorts will play Sunday.

*Defensive tackle Roy Miller (shoulder) and wide receiver Stephen Williams (Achilles) also missed practice after being limited Wednesday, with running back Maurice Jones-Drew (knee), defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks (ankle) and tight end Danny Noble (knee) working limited. Rookie Denard Robinson (hamstring) worked full after being limited Wednesday….

*Bradley said no decision has been made on whether running back Jordan Todman or wide receiver Stephen Burton will return kicks on Sunday. Todman was the first player to work at the position Thursday. "They're both intriguing in many ways, but it's the consistency," Bradley said, adding that Todman's fumbling on returns this season remains a concern: "The consistency with the ball is the one thing he has to win us over on."

*Bradley on the danger of players pressing to try to get a victory, "What you have to guard against with our team right now is that everybody's trying to do too much. It really comes back to just being your best. We're not asking for anybody to be Superman. We're just asking for them to be their best."

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