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Notes and observations: On Fournette, Bortles, more ...


Notes and observations: On Fournette, Bortles, more …

Senior writer John Oehser's notes and observations from Thursday: Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette on his hamstring and QB Blake Bortles, Jaguars DC Todd Wash on Titans RB Derrick Henry, OC Nathaniel Hackett on Bortles …

JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser's notes and observations from Thursday: Jaguars RB Leonard Fournette on his hamstring and QB Blake Bortles, Jaguars DC Todd Wash on Titans RB Derrick Henry, OC Nathaniel Hackett on Bortles …

1.Leonard Fournette left no doubt Thursday his hamstring has improved since last week. "I feel a lot better – way better," the second-year running back said. Fournette, who missed the Jaguars' 31-20 victory over the New England Patriots Sunday, said he doesn't know his status when the Jaguars (2-0) play the Tennessee Titans (1-1) at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville Sunday at 1 p.m. Fournette, who rushed for 41 yards on nine carries before sustaining his hamstring injury late in the first half of a week 1 victory over the New York Giants, has practiced limited Wednesday and Thursday this week and received treatment each morning. "I'm working it out, cutting, running on it … things like that," Fournette said. Guard A.J. Cann (triceps) and right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee) also have worked limited the past two days, with running back T.J. Yeldon (ankle), tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins (core muscle) and center Brandon Linder (knee) all working limited Thursday after not practicing Wednesday. Defensive tackle Abry Jones missed practice with an illness Thursday and running back Brandon Wilds missed practice Wednesday and Thursday with an illness.

2.Fournette on Thursday discussed quarterback Blake Bortles, lauding his development since Fournette entered the NFL as a rookie last season. Bortles passed for 377 yards and four touchdowns against the Patriots Sunday, and Fournette said Bortles' knowledge of the offense and ability to run the offense has improved dramatically in a season. "It's the play-calling," Fournette said. "He's changing the plays now. That's what you expect from a quarterback and he's handling it so well since I've been here. … He's 100 percent better. To me, he really took time to understand the offense and the defenses. It works in his favor." Bortles rushed for 35 yards on six carries Sunday, lowering his head on Patriots cornerback Stephon Gilmore on one play and evading tacklers for first downs on others. "I don't know where he got that from," Fournette said of Bortles' "missability." "He didn't have that last year. It's crazy." Of Bortles lowering his head on Gilmore, Fournette said: "You don't want him taking those licks. I try to tell him, 'Go down,' but Blake is Blake. He's trying to make plays like any competitor." Fournette was asked if Bortles was faster than some believed. "I don't know … Blake's slow," Fournette said, laughing.

3.Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash on Titans running back Derrick Henry: "He has played really well versus us. He has had some big runs versus us. They get us in a position where our corners have to tackle him, and he's a big man – a big, physical man." Henry, the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner for Alabama, indeed is one of the NFL's bigger running backs at 6-feet-3, 238 pounds. "He's really a one-of-a-kind back," Wash said. Henry rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 14 carries in a 37-16 Titans victory over the Jaguars in September 2017 and caught a 66-yard touchdown pass in a Week 17 Titans victory over the Jaguars. "We have to tackle really well and we're going to do everything we can to try to control the run game and try to make them one-dimensional," Wash said. "But they're committed to it. We have to be committed to stopping it. It's going to be a heck of a physical battle on Sunday."

4.Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett on why Bortles has played well with Fournette not playing: "It's maybe a combination of a lot of things. I don't think it really has a lot to do just with Leonard. When Leonard's out there, we love it. We want him out there. He's a strong runner and he's getting better in the pass protection role." Bortles has thrown nine touchdown passes with one interception in four games in which Fournette hasn't played. The Jaguars are 4-0 in those games, and the offense's 480 yards Sunday against New England marked the Jaguars' second-highest yardage total in Hackett's tenure. "Sometimes everything's clicking," Hackett said. "We challenged all of the guys early in the week, 'Hey, look, they're going to cause a lot of one-on-ones; everybody's going to have their own one-on-one battle. In that game, our guys won a lot of one-on-one battles. I think that's what ended up showing on the stat book."

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