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Jags begin preparations


One of the challenges the Jaguars face this week is making sure the Steelers don't beat them twice, which is another way of saying the Jaguars have to recover from their loss this past Sunday night in time for this Sunday's game against the visiting Chicago Bears.

"Let's be honest. Sunday was a tough one, but once we got out on the practice field we understood we have to get ready for Chicago," quarterback Byron Leftwich told reporters on Wednesday afternoon, as the Jaguars began preparations to play the Bears.

Clearly, the Bears are not the Steelers. The Bears are a 5-7 team that is last in the league in offense and 27th against the run. A quick glance at the Bears might make you yawn, but rookie head coach Lovie Smith is getting the most out of his players and they are bolstered by being in the NFC playoffs race in the final month of the season.

"Both of us need to win to stay in the hunt," coach Jack Del Rio said of the 6-6 Jaguars and their opponent this Sunday. "We got back to work today and the guys are anxious to get back on the field and get a victory."

Before they can do that, however, they must recover fully from this past weekend's game. Several players were held out of practice on Wednesday and given more time to recover from their hurts, and Del Rio admitted that he reduced Wednesday's practice regimen with recovery in mind.

"I think you have to understand that when you expend that kind of energy there's not going to be as much energy on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday. We cut it back a little bit today. It's time to move on and our guys are doing it," Del Rio said.

Though the Bears aren't impressive statistically, they are a young, physical team that appears to be in ascent. The Jaguars are a big favorite but the Bears won't be a push-over.

"This is a team that's forcing the quarterback into a lot of mistakes, so I have to make sure I'm prepared," Leftwich said.

"The whole thing is to win the football game. We knew we had a physical football team. We're not looking for people to say great things about us. We just want to win the football game," Leftwich added.

Del Rio presented an injury report on Wednesday that is encouraging for this stage of the season. Safety Deon Grant (knee) and tight end George Wrighster (back) are questionable, and guard Chris Naeole (calf), wide receiver Jimmy Smith (hand) and defensive tackle Marcus Stroud (knee) are probable.

But what about the Jaguars' mental health? Will they have put the Steelers game behind by the time kickoff rolls around this Sunday?

"This won't be the last emotional, physical game that won't go our way. Any time you lose it's tough on you. This one just happened to be a Sunday night game and everybody in the world saw us play," Leftwich said of the loss to Pittsburgh.

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