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Open Locker Room: Too much fun to stop


JACKSONVILLE – Sen'Derrick Marks played it smart Friday.

He sat out the final light practice of the week, resting two days before the Jaguars' game in Baltimore Sunday.

Marks, the Jaguars' veteran defensive tackle, has played through issues with his toe for the past several weeks – and really, he said, much of the season. It hasn't been easy, and in a couple of games, it has been downright difficult.

Now, the issue pretty much has subsided. He said his absence from practice Friday was about trainers "wanting me to stay off of it."

As Marks sees it, dealing with such things is part of the NFL. Besides, he said …

Now isn't the time to shut down.

"I'm having too much fun," Marks said Friday as the Jaguars (2-11) prepared to play the Baltimore Ravens (8-5) at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland, Sunday at 1 p.m. "When I'm playing it's fun, but you also feel like you put in too much work to sit down and take a game (off)."

There are, after all, just 16 games a season.

"I try to make them count," Marks said.

Marks, who has started all 29 games since joining the Jaguars in the 2013 offseason, has played at a Pro Bowl level much of the season, leading the Jaguars with 7.5 sacks this season despite the toe bothering him much of the year.

At first, he said he thought it was normal football pain. Then, he noticed it more in the toe area. He played through various levels of pain, but in a 23-3 loss to the Colts in Indianapolis November 23, the toe bothered him enough he ran on the side of his foot. Trainers advised against that, telling him the injury could get worse with that approach.

"Now, it's not bothering me as much," Marks said, adding that realistically, "It's not going to get (fully) better until you're done (for the season). It's just like with elbow pain – tendinitis of the elbow. It's just wear and tear and it's going to happen."

Also around the Jaguars Friday:

*Defensive end Andre Branch (groin), linebacker Khairi Fortt (hamstring) and running back Denard Robinson (foot) all were ruled out after not practicing all week. Branch and Fortt each missed last Sunday's loss to Houston, while Robinson is expected to miss the rest of the season. …

*Head Coach Gus Bradley reiterated a point he made Thursday, that that team wanted to get rookie running back Storm Johnson an opportunity Sunday even before Robinson's season-ending foot injury.  "That's what I've been talking to him about; it wasn't because of injury that you're getting this opportunity,'" Bradley said. "We were talking to him about it anyway. He's earned it and it's based off his past couple of weeks. Going into this week, watch him and see how he handles it. He's done a nice job." …

*Bradley said second-year left tackle Luke Joeckel has improved in recent weeks, partly because he has worked to improve his hand placement. Bradley said that's a fundamental that often is addressed in young players in the offseason, adding that "Luke was willing to work at it now. I would say the last three weeks he's done a really good job with it. We really appreciate that he's willing to do it, to try it because that's not maybe what gave him this opportunity. To change it midseason like he did and concentrate on working on it, it's been productive for him. We look at the changes that have taken place and the progress he's made through some of those technique changes he's made and it's been good."

*Defensive end Chris Clemons (knee) returned to practice on a full-participation basis after missing Thursday. He was listed as probable on the injury report. …

*Wide receiver Tommy Streeter (abdominal) and running back Toby Gerhart (ankle) worked full for a second consecutive day after working limited Wednesday. Each was listed as probable Friday. …

*Quarterback Blake Bortles (right shoulder), safety Josh Evans (finger) and linebacker J.T. Thomas practiced full for a third consecutive day and were listed as probable on the injury report. …

*Linebacker Geno Hayes returned to practice after a veteran day off Thursday. …

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