JACKSONVILLE – Effective running without question remains critical to the Jaguars' offense.
Who will do the running Sunday remains a bit less certain.
Maurice Jones-Drew, the Jaguars' three-time Pro Bowl running back, said Wednesday he is confident he will play on Sunday, but he did not practice and Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said his injured hamstring has his status in doubt.
"The big question mark is MoJo," Bradley said as the Jaguars (4-9) prepared to play the Buffalo Bills (4-9) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
Jones-Drew, who has rushed for 719 yards and five touchdowns on 208 carries this season, sustained a hamstring injury in the fourth quarter of a victory over Houston on Thursday. He rushed for a season-high 103 yards on 14 carries in the game.
"He continues to rehab," Bradley said. "The extra days have helped him – I know that. We'll be smart with him."
Rookie safety Johnathan Cyprien did not complete practice Thursday because of quadriceps/thigh tightness, and kicker Josh Scobee did not practice because of a left (non-kicking) hip issue. Bradley said each is expected to play Sunday.
Bradley said he didn't know the Jaguars' "emergency kicker," but said of the injury, "It's not a concern. We're being smart with him."
Defensive tackle Roy Miller also did not practice with a shoulder issue. That has been the case much of the second half of the season and he is expected to play Sunday.
Scobee said Miller, Scobee and Jones-Drew likely won't practice until Friday.
Jordan Todman, the Jaguars' backup running back, would make his first career start if Jones-Drew can't play. Todman has averaged just under eight carries over the last three games with Jones-Drew averaging 17, and Bradley said rookie Denard Robinson could share carries similarly with Todman Sunday.
Todman has had a run of at least seven yards in each of the last three games.
"He has the ability," Bradley said of Todman. "I think for us it's, 'How many? How many can he go? How many carries can he take?' I think he's up for that challenge.'"
The Jaguars have rushed for more than 100 yards as a team in each of those three games, too, and Bradley said that needs to continue whatever Jones-Drew's status.
"It's important," Bradley said. "It gives us the opportunity (to) not (be) one-dimensional. We have to stay convicted to the run game. Our guys are believing in it and they're starting to see some results with it. Whether it's MoJo or Todman or D-Rob, we have to find a way to execute."
Also around the Jaguars Wednesday:
*Jones-Drew, Miller, Scobee and wide receiver Cecil Shorts III all were listed on the injury report as not practicing on Wednesday, with Shorts missing with the groin injury that has lingered much of the season. He is expected to play Sunday….
*Cyprien, safety Josh Evans (shoulder), linebacker Geno Hayes (knee), offensive tackle Austin Pasztor (shoulder), safety Chris Prosinski (concussion) and running back Jordan Todman were listed as practicing limited…
*Defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks, defensive end Jason Babin and center Brad Meester also did not practice with veterans' days off…
*Meester on Wednesday discussed former Jaguars quarterback Mark Brunell being inducted into the Pride of the Jaguars. Brunell, who started at quarterback for the Jaguars from 1995-2003, will be inducted Sunday. "He was a special player," Meester said. "It was great to have the opportunity to play with him three or four years. More than the player was the guy himself. I learned a lot from him and how he conducted himself on the field and off the field." Meester played with Brunell from 2000-2003.…
*Meester also discussed the idea of possible someday being so honored. "That'd be awesome," Meester said. "That's an unbelievable group of guys up there – Tony (Boselli), Fred (Taylor), Brunell now. I would definitely be honored, but I don't know that that's going to happen."…
*Although there has been speculation that he could retire following this season, Meester on Wednesday said he has not decided on whether he will return for a 15th season. "Check back next week," he said, smiling….
*Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne, Bradley and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch all said they believed Meester has played well this season, with Bradley crediting him Wednesday with helping a young offensive line adapt to a new blocking scheme under Fisch and line coach George Yarno. "I know we're pleased with how he's been as a member of our team and what he's given us, without a doubt," Bradley said, adding that he has not spoken to Meester about his future plans. "I'm sure he will come in and visit with me sometime, but I have just been really pleased with him." …
*Henne made significant yards last Thursday scrambling when the Texans' pass rush opened lanes. He rushed four times for 33 yards, something Fisch said he encourages from any quarterback. "Guys need to scramble," Fisch said. "Quarterbacks need to get first downs with their legs as well as their arms. I encourage scrambling, I encourage throwing it up and trying to get pass interferences and I encourage scrambling because I think both of those things happen in the NFL. Take a chance…."
This article is driven by TomBush.com.