JACKSONVILLE – Jalen Ramsey will practice.
That was the major news Wednesday morning as the Jaguars began preparing to play the New Orleans Saints – that the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback is expected to practice for the first time in more than two weeks.
Ramsey is listed on the team’s pre-practice injury report as expected to work limited with the back injury that has kept him out since a Week 3 victory over the Tennessee Titans.
“We expect him to be outside and try to do a little more – and just keep testing it and pushing it,” Head Coach Doug Marrone said as the Jaguars (2-3) prepared to play the Saints (4-1) at TIAA Bank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.
Ramsey, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, requested a trade following a Week 2 loss to the Houston Texans. He played and started a Week 3 victory over Tennessee before missing practice for a variety of reasons – sickness, the back injury and the birth of his second child – and missing a Week 4 victory at Denver.
Ramsey saw a back specialist in Houston this past Monday a day after missing the Jaguars’ 34-27 Week 5 loss to the Carolina Panthers. Marrone said the specialist confirmed what Jaguars doctors have said about the issue.
“He’s working extremely hard to get back, and everyone’s doing everything they can,” Marrone said. “We’ll just take it day by day.”
Marrone said a player in any situation has input about how extensively he will practice and whether he will play with the injury.
“I think we’re just going to take it step by step,” Marrone said. “We’ll stretch in here and see how that goes. If that goes well, then we’ll go outside. We’ll warm up. We’ll stretch. We’ll take it step by step.”
Marrone also on Wednesday talked about the excitement of returning home to play at TIAA Bank Field for the first time since the victory over Tennessee, as well as improving a run defense that struggled in a loss to Carolina this past Sunday.
He said the biggest challenge may be a New Orleans team that is a Super Bowl favorite, and that has won three consecutive games despite the absence of perennial Pro Bowl quarterback Drew Brees.
“We’ve got a lot of challenges with New Orleans coming in,” Marrone said.
Marrone coached with New Orleans as offensive coordinator from 2006-2008, working with Head Coach Sean Payton and Brees.
“Just an unbelievable amount of great memories,” Marrone said. “I don’t have really the time to look back on that, so I guess the next thing would be just a ton of respect. … I wouldn’t be where I am today if I hadn’t spent that time down in New Orleans from the standpoint of learning from Sean and everyone else.”
Cornerback D.J. Hayden is expected to work limited Wednesday with a foot injury, with safety Ronnie Harrison expected to work limited with an ankle injury, defensive end Lerentee McCray expected to work limited with an oblique injury and tight end Josh Oliver expected to work limited with a hamstring injury. Center Brandon Linder is not expected to practice with a coach’s decision/veteran day off.
Oliver has been out since before the first preseason game with a hamstring injury sustained early in training camp.
“I think it’s the same thing as with Jalen – we’re just taking it step by step,” Marrone said of Oliver.