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Opportunity comes again


Whatever the circumstance, Cameron Bradfield said he prepares the same.

But Bradfield said one thing obviously will be different Saturday should he start at offensive tackle for the Jaguars for a second time this season.

"I have a lot more time to prepare myself mentally than I did before," Bradfield said Thursday afternoon as the Jaguars (4-10) prepared to play the Tennessee Titans (7-7) at LP Field in downtown Nashville, Tenn., Saturday at 1 p.m.

Then again, how couldn't he?

Bradfield, an undrafted rookie from Grand Valley State, had only a few hours to prepare for his first NFL start. On Sunday, October 16, he was rushed into a starting role when Eben Britton woke with pain in his back that eventually ended the third-year veteran's season.

Bradfield's time frame is more manageable this week.

With Guy Whimper not practicing the last two days because of a knee injury, Bradfield has worked with the starting unit at right tackle, and chances are good he could start for a second time this season Saturday.

"We're going to have to wait and see with him (Whimper)," Jaguars interim coach Mel Tucker said. "So we're getting Bradfield ready to go and then we'll see how Guy is and see if anything changes in the next day or so."

Said Bradfield, "This is a great opportunity. It doesn't matter if you're a rookie or a sixth-year guy. Just to get an opportunity to start in this league, it's a great opportunity and a great feeling."

While Bradfield's previous start came on the left side, he said he is equally comfortable at either position. He said he played on each side in college, and has taken about the same repetitions on both sides this season.

"It doesn't make a difference," he said. "I feel the same comfort on both sides."

Bradfield, after making the opening-day roster, has played in seven games, and aside from the start in Pittsburgh, he has played mostly in two-tight end formations.

"I've still prepared the same as far as knowing the tendencies and the plays," Bradfield said. "As far as physical preparation, it's the same, but mentally I've had time to prepare."

Bradfield played for Whimper when the latter was injured in Indianapolis in mid-November, then played extensively at right tackle last week when Whimper was out against Atlanta.

"I think it has helped tremendously," Bradfield said. "One of the best ways of learning is getting the real reps. You have to take every chance you can to get better. Once you start seeing defenses and getting a certain amount of snaps, you try not to prepare as if you are a rookie. As far as knowing the game of football and knowing different defenses, I think I have matured a lot."

Also around the Jaguars Thursday:

*Running back Maurice Jones-Drew (ankle) practiced limited for a second consecutive day, but Tucker said he expects Jones-Drew to start Saturday. Jones-Drew has started every game this season and leads the NFL in rushing by 60 yards over LeSean McCoy.

*Tucker said Thursday he believes the Jaguars have benefitted this week from extra focus on technique and fundamentals. Tucker said he doubled the time spent in practice on the area early in the week "because I really feel like our effort has been there, our want-to has been there but really the execution is where we needed the improvement. And so there was more attention to that this week. I think we accomplished that." Tucker said fundamentals and technique can wane during the season because practices are shorter than during training camp. "Typically the things when you're looking to cut back, a lot of times it's the individual time," Tucker said. "We're doing just the opposite at this point. We're allowing for more individual time and more technique and fundamental work because I think that's going to pay off for us down the stretch here."

*Wide receiver Mike Thomas (concussion) was cleared to practice Thursday and did so on a limited basis. After missing last week's game against Atlanta, he said he passed his base line concussion test Thursday. "I feel like I'm back in school again," Thomas said of passing the test. An official game status will be released regarding Thomas on Friday. "We'll see how he feels," Tucker said.

*WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring) and S Dwight Lowery (shoulder) did not practice, and Tucker said the Jaguars are prepared to play without each player Saturday. If Lowery does not play, second-year veteran Akwasi Owusu-Ansah will start in his place.

*Defensive tackle Tyson Alualu (not injury related) and fullback Greg Jones (hamstring) each returned to full participation after working limited Wednesday.

*Tight end Marcedes Lewis (hamstring) worked limited after missing practice Wednesday. "We cut his reps back a little bit," Tucker said. "We'll see how feels after today's work."

*Defensive end Matt Roth (concussion) missed practice and Tucker said he will miss a fifth consecutive game.

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