JACKSONVILLE – Todd Wash must be ready for all possibilities.
Specific to cornerback Jalen Ramsey, Wash – the Jaguars' defensive coordinator – on Thursday morning said that means having a plan for playing with or without him Sunday.
"We have to prepare for both," Wash said Thursday as the Jaguars (1-2) prepared to play the Denver Broncos (0-3) at Empower Field at Mile High Sunday at 4:25 p.m.
Ramsey, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, left the team Wednesday for Nashville, Tennessee, for the birth of his second daughter. He missed practice Monday because of an illness and was listed on the injury report Wednesday as missing practice with a back injury.
Ramsey had requested a trade early last week before starting and playing throughout a victory over Tennessee last Thursday.
"We have to have a plan either way – if he's back and when he gets back from the birth," Wash said. "We've got to plan for both scenarios and how it plays out the rest of the week."
Ramsey, widely considered one of the NFL's top corners, has started all 51 games for the Jaguars since being selected No. 5 overall in the 2016 NFL Draft. With 2017 Pro Bowl selection A.J. Bouye starting opposite Ramsey and D.J. Hayden at nickel, the Jaguars have one of the NFL's top corner trios.
Second-year veteran Tre Herndon, an undrafted rookie free agent in 2018, likely will start for Ramsey if he does not play Sunday.
"What he does is he comes in and works; he prepares," Wash said of Herndon. "Anything he is given by the position coaches or whatever it may be, he's going out and he's going to do it to the best of his ability. You've got to give a lot of credit to the kid, obviously coming in as a college free agent, how he's improved so much.
"Not only can he play outside, he's our backup nickel. We feel very, very comfortable with him playing either spot – either outside or inside. It's a lot of credit to him and where he's made himself."
The Jaguars, after registering nine sacks in a 20-7 victory over Tennessee, are tied for the NFL lead with 13 sacks through three this season.
"Obviously, if you can get pressure on the quarterback it helps out every defensive back; it doesn't matter who's in the game," Wash said. "But you can't replace Jalen. Regardless of what anybody says, he's an elite, elite player. But obviously it helps. Those guys know up front: It doesn't matter who's behind us, who's playing in the back end, if they get pressure on the quarterback, it's only going to make them better on the back end.
"It's important they play well up front regardless of who's playing."