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Jaguars' health improving


The Jaguars took Friday off in their bye week, as they attempt to rest and rehabilitate from an opening nine games of the season that left them in a bruised and battered state.

However, for the first time since the start of training camp, it would appear the Jaguars' health is improving. quarterback Mark Brunell is showing no signs of the strained calf muscle that hindered his performance for more than a month, and running back Fred Taylor's knee is no longer an issue and the wrist injury he suffered three weeks ago certainly hasn't hurt his production, as Taylor has put together three consecutive 100-yard games.

Wide receiver Jimmy Smith is using the bye week to recuperate from combination knee and hamstring hurts that caused him to miss his first game in Jaguars history, this past Sunday in Dallas.

Middle linebacker Hardy Nickerson returned to full-time action against Dallas, and the hamstring pull he suffered on Oct. 1 should be no factor when the Jaguars begin their seven-game finishing kick by hosting the Seattle Seahawks on Nov. 12.

Outside linebacker Lonnie Marts has been troubled all season by an abdominal strain, and defensive end Joel Smeenge has faced the same with a calf strain, and no one is quite sure if Marts or Smeenge will recover completely before the end of the season.

Meanwhile, defensive end Renaldo Wynn is nearing a return to action after a knee sprain in Tennessee on Oct. 16, safety Rayna Stewart has returned to action following a knee sprain in Indianapolis on Sept. 25 that sidelined him for a month, and defensive tackle Gary Walker is expected to be back on the field after missing the Dallas game with a recurring knee sprain.

Then there's offensive tackle Leon Searcy, out since the first day of full-pads practice in training camp, when he suffered a quadriceps tear. Plans are for Searcy to make his first appearance of the season when the Jaguars host the Tennessee Titans on Nov. 26. That date is still up in the air, but, all of a sudden the Jaguars are talking about getting players back, as opposed to talking about losing them.

"I can't afford to have anyone come out of this week who isn't ascending," coach Tom Coughlin said of the health of his team.

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