JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars looked better at linebacker Thursday.
Jaguars starting middle linebacker Paul Posluszny and starting weak-side linebacker Telvin Smith, both of whom missed practice Wednesday, returned to practice Thursday.
Posluszny left last Sunday's 10-3 Wild Card victory over the Buffalo Bills before halftime.
"Good – good progress," Marrone said of Posluszny as the AFC South Champion Jaguars (11-6) prepared to play the AFC North Champion Pittsburgh Steelers (13-3) in an AFC Divisional Playoff at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Sunday at 1:05 p.m.
Posluszny, who left last Sunday with what initially was reported as a hip injury, has been listed this week with an abdomen injury.
"They were able to get it more focused on where it (the injury) was," Marrone said.
Smith, who missed two games with a concussion this season, missed Wednesday's practice with an ankle injury after playing the entire game against the Bills.
Marrone said linebacker Blair Brown, who sustained an ankle injury in practice Wednesday, could return to practice Friday and has not been ruled out for Sunday. Brown played 19 snaps Sunday against Buffalo with Posluszny out after halftime.
"I don't think we're there yet, so I'm not disappointed [for Brown],'' Marrone said. "The only time I use that word – disappointed – is if the player is unavailable because he's worked so hard. We'll give him a go tomorrow (Friday) and see where he's at."
Also, cornerback Aaron Colvin – who missed Wednesday's practice with an illness after playing through flu symptoms against the Bills – was listed as expected to practice Thursday on the team's pre-practice injury report.
Also on Thursday:
*Marrone called the Steelers "the most talented roster we've played this season." The Steelers had an NFL-high eight players selected to the Pro Bowl this season, including wide receiver Antonio Brown, quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, running back Le'Veon Bell, linebacker Ryan Shazier, kicker Chris Boswell, tackle Alejandro Villanueva, guard David DeCastro and center Maurkice Pouncey. "They've got talent," Marrone said. "I'm not taking away from any of the teams we've played, but they have the most Pro Bowlers, they have experience, they have guys who are playing extremely well from top to bottom.'' …
*Marrone as he did last week lauded the play of Jaguars free safety Tashaun Gipson this season, particularly the sixth-year veteran's role defending tight ends. Bills tight end Charles Clay caught three passes for 15 yards Sunday. "We keep playing all these really good tight ends – whether it's Delanie Walker [of Tennessee], or whether it's Jimmy Graham [of Seattle], whoever it may be …" Marrone said. "He's the one who's matched up on them a lot. He's really done a hell of a job." …
*Marrone said while he monitors weather daily, the expected cold in Pittsburgh won't be a major topic this week – and he said it won't dramatically alter the game plan. The forecast for Sunday in Pittsburgh calls for a high of 18 degrees with 5 mph winds. "We just tell them (players), 'Hey, this is what it's going to be,''' Marrone said. "That's it. … You have to understand what's going on during the week and prepared. Obviously if a monsoon-type wind kicks up you have to be able to adjust schematically there. It is what it is. You have to play. They put the ball down, blow the whistle and away we go. I don't think our guys are too concerned about what's going on on the outside. I really believe that."…
*The Jaguars listed 10 players on the pre-practice injury report as expected to practice: quarterback Blake Bortles (right wrist), cornerback Jalen Ramsey (Achilles), fullback Tommy Bohanon (knee), linebacker Donald Payne (quadriceps), wide receiver Jaydon Mickens (hamstring), tight end Marcedes Lewis (ankle) and defensive tackle Abry Jones (ankle). …