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Open locker room: Scobee ready for Sunday


JACKSONVILLE – Josh Scobee's ready.

That was the opinion of the Jaguars' 11-year veteran kicker Thursday, a day after he tested his sore right quad in practice at the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields.

Scobee, one of the NFL's most reliable, consistent kickers in recent years, said Wednesday before practice that how he kicked that day – and how he felt afterward – likely would determine his availability for Sunday's 2014 regular-season opener.

Scobee indeed kicked Wednesday. And the kicker said he felt good enough to play.

"I'm pretty sure I'll be good to go unless they tell me different," Scobee said Thursday as the Jaguars prepared to play the Philadelphia Eagles in the 2014 regular-season opener at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa., Sunday at 1 p.m.

Scobee said he spoke to Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley and General Manager David Caldwell Wednesday and that both liked what they saw from him in practice that day. Scobee was listed as questionable on the team's injury report released late Wednesday.

Bradley said after practice Wednesday Scobee was trending up, and was optimistic about the kicker playing against Philadelphia.

Scobee said he kicked at about 50-or-60 percent of his normal swing Wednesday, and that kicking at that capacity he can convert from 50 yards. At that capacity, he said his kickoffs might be a touch shorter than normal, but that he could still kick deep enough for touchbacks.

"It's about knowing yourself, and I know myself," Scobee said. "I don't have to swing 100 percent to hit a 50-yard field goal or hit a touchback."

Scobee said he had no setbacks or pain Thursday morning after working Wednesday. He said that was important because he hadn't kicked a football at anything close to a game level since injuring the quad against Detroit in Week 3 of the preseason.

"I had no soreness today," Scobee said. "That was a big key, was waking up this morning and not feeling very sore."

Scobee said he anticipated kicking a few more field goals in practice Thursday so that he's not rusty Sunday, and that he anticipated the week's work load being plenty to be ready for Sunday.

Scobee last missed a game in 2007, when he missed eight games of the season after injuring his right quad jamming his foot into the ground on a kickoff during the regular-season opener. He said this was the closest he has come to missing a game since.

"Now that I've kicked, I feel good," Scobee said. "I'm not 100 percent, but I feel confident enough I can go out there and make a swing that will be plenty enough to get the job done. I've been doing this long enough to where mentally I'm fine. It's just going through the reps and routines and staying in that kicking motion. I feel good I'll be good to go."

Scobee converted 22 of 23 extra-point attempts last season and 23 of 25 field goals for a team-leading 91 points. He was four of five from 40-to-49 yards and four of five from 50 or more yards.

Also around the Jaguars:

*Mike Brown will be the Jaguars' punt returner Sunday, and while it's not a role the second-year veteran wide receiver has played in an NFL game, it's one he has wanted – and one he believes he can play well. Brown did not return a punt last season, but with second-year veteran Ace Sanders suspended four games and Tandon Doss on injured reserve with an ankle injury, Jaguars coaches listed Brown first on the depth chart at punt returner for the opener. "I'm excited about it," Brown said. "It's a great chance to have the ball in my hands." Brown returned two punts for four yards in the preseason. "I've always been on the depth chart (as a punt returner), I just haven't gotten as many opportunities in live situations," Brown said. …

*Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch on third-year veteran Jacques McClendon being named the starting center over rookie Luke Bowanko: "He had a little more experience in terms of making all of the calls for us and being able to put us in a position to succeed. He's been out of college a few years and he's got a little bit of a strength advantage inside. He was playing at a high level, he just was." Fisch added that Bowanko, "unfortunately got tweaked a little bit and missed a couple days of practice there at the end. (He) was able to come back and is healthy, but Jacques continued to do a nice job for us."  Bowanko practiced full Wednesday with a quad injury.

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