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Mularkey likes Jaguars 53-man roster


If the Jaguars' 53-man roster isn't set in stone, it's close.

In that sense, Friday evening marked the end of a long, difficult process, with the last few days being the most emotional. With that in the past, Mike Mularkey said one important thing stands above all.

He likes the process' results, and likes what that means moving forward.

"I feel very good," Mularkey said Saturday, a day after the team made 22 roster moves to reduce the roster to 53. "I'm very happy about the 53. I think our guys are ready to go."

Mularkey also said while he has heard rumors of holdout running back Maurice Jones-Drew intending to report in the coming days he has heard nothing of substance on the matter.

"I have not heard from Maurice," he said. "I heard the same things you have, but nothing firm from people who need to tell me it's firm."

The Jaguars on Friday night announced 22 roster moves, including nine veterans released or waived: safety Courtney Greene, defensive tackle Corvey Irvin, safety Rod Issac, cornerback Trumaine McBride, running back Richard Murphy, quarterback Jordan Palmer, offensive tackle William Robinson, cornerback Leigh Torrence and wide receiver Demetrius Williams.

The Jaguars also waived eight rookies – defensive end Kendrick Adams, offensive tackle Lee Barbiasz, wide receiver Mike Brown, defensive end Ryan Davis, cornerback Antonio Dennard, guard D.J. Hall, linebacker Joshua Jones and linebacker J.K. Schaffer – and four first-year players: offensive lineman Daniel Baldridge, tight end Colin Cloherty, defensive end Odrick Ray and fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou. Ray was waived/injured.

Second-year G Will Rackley was placed on injured reserve, taking the Jaguars to the league-mandated 53-man regular-season roster.

Jones said via twitter on Friday he was returning to the practice squad, and Mularkey said the team also would like Davis to return. The team may keep eight players on the practice squad.

Mularkey on Saturday also said the team doesn't immediately plan to place defensive ends Austen Lane and George Selvie or tight end Zach Miller on injured reserve. All missed the preseason finale.

"The extent of their injuries are not something that would put them on IR right now," Mularkey said. "We don't think they'll be out long enough. We're going to continue to rehab them and hopefully sometime in the next few weeks we'll get those guys back."

With the injuries, the Jaguars have two healthy tight ends – Marcedes Lewis and Zach Potter – and three healthy defensive ends: Andrew Branch, Jeremy Mincey and Aaron Morgan. Mularkey said while the team is examining the waiver wire at all positions, the Jaguars won't necessarily sign a veteran tight end or defensive end.

"We can go into a game with two tight ends if we had to," Mularkey said. "We're not going to pick up somebody just to pick up somebody."

Mularkey also said a defensive tackle could move outside and play end on a temporary basis. D'Anthony Smith and Tyson Alualu could be used in that capacity.

Of the 53 players making the roster, four were undrafted rookies – wide receiver Kevin Elliott, linebacker Julian Stanford, center Mike Brewster and safety Antown Blake.

Mularkey said the Jaguars were caught off guard originally that Brewster, an All-America center for Ohio State, hadn't been drafted.

"We were excited about getting him," Mularkey said. "He fit in, picked up the offense and just got better and better. He was playing like a veteran there, because he had to. He was thrown into the fire."

Brewster played extensively in the preseason because of limited playing time for veteran center Brad Meester and injury to guard Uche Nwaneri, and Mularkey said Elliott – who had two preseason touchdown receptions – made a similar impression.

"He showed some flash all the way back to the minicamp," Mularkey said, adding that the Jaguars particularly liked Elliott's physical nature. "He has size and speed and made some catches. He's a very talented kid. He has some things he has to work on."

Mularkey said Stanford's size, speed, intelligence and coachability impressed, while Blake "did a lot of things right for us, especially on special teams." Mularkey said special teams largely will determine if Elliott, Blake and Stanford are active on game days.

Mularkey, in his first season as the Jaguars' head coach, said he makes a point to try to speak with every player when they are released. He missed talking to a few players who were in early Friday because he was in staff meetings, and overall, the day was an emotional one.

"It's very difficult," Mularkey said. "That's the hard part, when they've been playing their whole lives and I have to be the guy telling them that they're not capable of playing anymore – at least not for this team. It's very difficult, especially when I've sat in that chair where they've been and been in that position.

"Some of them were emotional. It's difficult."

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