Jones, Stroud 'doubtful'

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Matt Jones and Marcus Stroud are listed as "doubtful" on the Jaguars' official injury report and neither player practiced on Wednesday. Earlier in the day coach Jack Del Rio said Stroud would be listed as "questionable" but the star defensive tackle was downgraded when his ankle injury prevented him from participating in practice.

"We still have a long injury list. We still have some healing to do. We still have some guys who won't practice," Del Rio said during Wednesday's noon press conference.

The Jaguars' official injury report was released late Wednesday afternoon.

Jones is nursing a hamstring injury. He has been hobbled by groin and hamstring injuries since the third game of the season and has caught only two passes in the last three games.

Stroud continues to favor a sprained ankle he sustained in practice the week of the season-opener. He had played on the sore ankle through the first four games but did not play against the Jets in week five, the first time in Stroud's six-year career he missed a game.

The Jaguars' opponent this week is the Houston Texans. Del Rio cautioned against being deluded by the Texans' 1-4 record.

"Eight of 13 games (last weekend) were decided by three or fewer points. In the NFL, it's who prepares the best and plays the best. Every week, there are examples. Our challenge this week is to understand the need to prepare and play hard and not listen to the fans and pundits" who refer to the Texans' record, Del Rio said.

"They've been a football team that has started fast. In three of their five games, they've scored on their opening drive. It's a team that's played well in spurts," Del Rio said.

"Defensively, they have some good young players," he said, specifically citing third-year cornerback Dunta Robinson and rookies Mario Williams and Demeco Ryans. "Offensively, I think they have one of the more dominating players in Andre Johnson. David Carr is number one in completion percentage right now."

The Texans have established a tradition for playing the Jaguars tough. They beat the Jaguars as an expansion team in the two teams' first-ever meeting, then scored two wins over the Jags in 2005, the second win having kept the Jaguars from making the playoffs.

Even last year, though the Jaguars beat the Texans twice, the Jaguars trailed at the start of the fourth quarter in both games.

"Coach Coughlin started that back in 2002," Del Rio joked of the Jaguars' struggles against the Texans. "We recognize that. They've played us well. Tennessee showed last week what teams that aren't as highly regarded can do. We have a healthy respect for teams in our division."

The Jaguars are heading into a four-week stretch of schedule in which they'll face the Texans twice and the Titans once. Del Rio was asked if it's important to close the gap between the Jaguars and Colts in the AFC South title race during the next four weeks.

"I think it's too early to worry about chasing a team. We have to focus on playing good football," Del Rio said.

The Jaguars coach was also quizzed on the role in which newly-acquired cornerback Ahmad Carroll will be cast. Carroll, a former first-round pick, was signed by the Jaguars after being cut by the Packers.

"We are not counting on him to do anything right now except develop. He needs a lot of fundamentals work. He's at the bottom of our depth chart. We have 10 defensive backs and he's number 10 right now. We're very happy with the young guys we have. It was an opportunity to grab a talented player and try to develop him," Del Rio said of Carroll.

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