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Notes and observations: Fournette on return, Kessler on throwing downfield, more

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Cody Kessler looks for a receiver against the Indianapolis Colts as running back T.J. Yeldon (24) blocks during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 2, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Gary McCullough)

JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser’s Tuesday Jaguars notes and observations: Running back Leonard Fournette on returning from one-game suspension, quarterback Cody Kessler on the need to throw downfield more as the season continues, and more …

1.Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette put it simply. How difficult was missing the Jaguars victory this past Sunday the Indianapolis Colts because of a one-game suspension? “It was tough, knowing what I could have done to help the team; it was tough,” Fournette said Tuesday as the Jaguars (4-8) prepared to play the Tennessee Titans (6-6) at Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee, Thursday at 8:20 p.m. Fournette, who was suspended by the NFL for his role in a multiplayer altercation in a loss to the Buffalo Bills the previous week, said he didn’t expect to have an advantage Thursday in terms of rest. Fournette, who rushed for 95 yards in each of the last two games before his suspension, will have had 10 days between games on Thursday compared to three for most of the other Titans and Jaguars players. “I’m just trying to get out there and win the game,” Fournette said. “That’s the main goal. I’m not really on whether I’m well-rested for not.”

2.Cornerback Jalen Ramsey on Wednesday discussed the task of containing Marcus Mariota, calling it “super-challenging.” That aptly described the difficulty the Jaguars have had against the Titans quarterback, who has routinely made game-changing plays in seven meetings between the teams since the Titans selected him No. 2 overall in the 2015 NFL Draft. The Jaguars have struggled in recent seasons containing mobile quarterbacks, and Mariota’s ability to escape pressure has given the Titans key late first downs in the team’s last two meetings. “You just have to cover for even longer – scramble drills – it turns into backyard football,” Ramsey said. Mariota struggled passing because of an elbow injury in a 9-6 Titans victory in Jacksonville in Week 3, but he rushed seven times for 51 yards. His 15-yard run on a designed read-option play on third-and-1 helped the Titans drain clock with a lead late in the game. Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith later said the NFL ruled that offensive tackle Taylor Lewan should have been called for holding on the play. “Lewan held me,” Smith said with a laugh Wednesday. “Man, look at the tape.” Smith then added with a smile, “I don’t want to talk too much about it.”

3.Downfield passing remained a topic for quarterback Cody Kessler Tuesday, with the third-year veteran reiterating what he said following a 6-0 victory over the Colts Sunday – that he “obviously” wants to throw downfield moving forward. Kessler checked down often to backs and receivers Sunday, completing 18 of 24 passes for 150 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions. It was Kessler’s first start for the Jaguars after replacing longtime starter Blake Bortles in the lineup last week. “You want to take shots as much as you can and put up some points, but when your defense is playing so well, you want to be smart with the football, protect it,” Kessler said. “When it’s a tough defensive game like that, it comes down to who is going to make the lesser amount of mistakes, and we did a good job of winning the turnover battle and playing well and kind of finishing that thing out.”

4.Ramsey’s status entering the game figures to be a topic for a second consecutive week, particularly considering the Jaguars have only three days between games this week. The All-Pro cornerback played through a knee injury against Indianapolis Sunday and has been listed as limited on the Jaguars’ injury report the last two days. “I’m just trying to get as much treatment as I can and watch as much film as I can so I can go out and give it as much as I can for my team,” Ramsey said. The Jaguars’ injury report Tuesday was the same as Monday, with both days considered an estimation because the team did not conduct a formal practice either day. Other Jaguars players listed as limited this week: safety Cody Davis (hamstring), offensive lineman Josh Walker (foot/ankle), right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee), defensive end Calais Campbell (ankle). Cornerbacks Tre Herndon (ankle), Quenton Meeks (knee) and linebacker Lerentee McCray (hamstring) are listed as full this week with wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. (quadriceps) and nose tackle Abry Jones (shin) listed as not practicing.

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