JACKSONVILLE – The week is short, and as such, the Jaguars were back to work on Sunday.
And after the Jaguars' one-hour, 40-minute practice on the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields, the focus on Sunday afternoon when Head Coach Gus Bradley spoke to reporters was squarely on health and the interior offensive line.
And, of course, the quarterback position.
Several players missed Sunday's workout, including defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks (shoulder), kicker Josh Scobee (quadriceps) and Zane Beadles (calf contusion). All sustained injuries against the Lions Friday, and all are expected to miss practice and the preseason finale against Atlanta Thursday.
Bradley said the hope is the trio will practice next week and be ready for the September 7 regular-season opener at Philadelphia.
Middle linebacker Paul Posluszny (biceps), safety Winston Guy, Jr. (ankle) and wide receiver Kerry Taylor (wrist) all practiced Sunday after being injured Friday. Defensive tackle David Carter (knee) also missed practice after sustaining an injury Friday and was waived/injured later in the day.
Offensive tackle Austin Pasztor (hand), offensive tackle Josh Wells (shoulder), safety Craig Loston (hamstring), safety Deion Belue (back), wide receiver Allen Robinson (hamstring), wide receiver Tandon Doss (ankle) and tight end Clay Harbor (calf) all missed practice Sunday. Those seven players missed Friday's game, with Robinson and Doss working on the side early Sunday.
Bradley on Sunday also discussed the team's quarterback position, saying again that veteran Chad Henne will start the regular-season opener ahead of rookie Blake Bortles, who has been impressive in three preseason games, completing 28 of 44 passes for 435 yards and a touchdown with no interceptions.
Henne has completed 25 of 38 passes for 230 yards and one touchdown with no interceptions in three preseason starts.
"Chad's executing really well right now," Bradley said, adding that the Jaguars will challenge Henne to be more efficient. "What we take into account is he (Henne) knows the protections. He knows how we call out in the run game. He's doing a really nice job of that."
Bradley said Bortles also played well Friday, handling a two-minute situation well and checking out of plays into positive ones. He also said although Bortles had fewer mental errors than Henne Friday, Henne faced more diverse fronts than Bortles.
"He has a better understanding of identifications," Bradley said of Henne, adding that there was heavy pressure on several plays where Henne could have gotten opportunities for gains Friday.
Bradley said the team is still working with Bortles to improve timing with routes and footwork. Bradley, for example, said Bortles is "just a little late" on slants at times.
"We try to attack a certain area every day and that's the big thing we're working on now," Bradley said, adding that there is much to like about Bortles. "What I like about him is he'll take some chances. He's not scarred, I guess you could say. He'll try to attack it and try to make the throws and make the plays. That's where we want to keep that mindset."
Bradley said the Jaguars haven't discussed continuing to play Bortles once the regular season begins.
"We're going to continue to work with him at practice," Bradley said. "We'll probably be more aggressive with him as far as getting him reps in team situations. We'll still take him off the field and work one-on-one with him. I think you'll see us aggressively help him along, because he has made a lot of progress and we want to make sure that doesn't slow down."
Bradley on Sunday also addressed the Jaguars' ongoing search for a starter at center, a search that has been an issue throughout training camp and preseason.
The Jaguars took the field for their first practice since facing the Lions in Week 3 of the 2014 NFL Preseason.
"We feel like we have something," Bradley said. "We just want to challenge them one more time, to see who shows up and what we're looking for. They all have things we're looking for."
Jacques McClendon started at center Friday after Mike Brewster started there in the first two preseason games. Rookie Luke Bowanko replaced McClendon Friday, with Brewster playing right guard late in the first half and center later in the second half.
"I thought Jacques played really hard," Bradley said. "That's what we're seeing in him and we feel like the consistency is coming. With Brewster, I think you see some good reps. Where do we need him to be? We're challenging him to let it go. We want relentless play on the offensive line, so that's the challenge for him – to continue to show us being relentless."
Bradley said Bowanko, a sixth-round draft selection who played through ankle and knee issues Friday, has shown good athleticism.
"He struggled a little just bracing, maybe because of the ankle and the knee," Bradley said. "For us, he's got upside. We like his athleticism. We like his toughness. Consistency is the coaching point for him."
Also on Sunday:
*Bradley said the defense must clean up some tackling issues, but that he liked how that unit overcame adversity Friday, playing better after allowing an 86-yard touchdown to running back Reggie Bush. "I thought we bounced back pretty well from it," Bradley said, adding that the Jaguars had an interception and a fourth-down stand after Bush's touchdown. "Those are all good signs that we're bouncing back from adversity." …
*Bradley said the team hasn't yet discussed playing time or starters at any position for Thursday's game against the Falcons. He said he expects to have a better idea Tuesday evening. …
*Bradley lauded the play during the preseason of fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou, and said running back Toby Gerhart ran well after contact against the Lions. …
*Bradley said the Jaguars offensively need to reduce the number of no-gain and negative runs, and also said the team needs to improve in the red zone. "We got some field goals, but we need to turn those into touchdowns," he said.