Waiting for Sunday

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The Jaguars' offensive line remains a focus, and an uncertainty, too.

While starting right tackle Cameron Bradfield on Friday was ruled out for Sunday's regular-season home opener, Eben Britton – the team's starting left guard – was not, leaving open the possibility he might play against the Houston Texans on Sunday.

Bradfield and Britton each sustained ankle injuries in the regular-season opener Sunday.

Neither player practiced this week, but Britton attended practice and was listed as questionable on the team's injury report Friday.

Cornerback Derek Cox also was listed as questionable.

"That's something we'll work out on Sunday," Mularkey said Friday as the Jaguars (0-1) prepared to play the AFC South-leading Texans (1-0) at EverBank Field Sunday at 1 p.m.

"We have the rest of today, the rest of tomorrow, to get off your feet, rehab like maniacs. We'll work them out on Sunday and make some decisions on Sunday."

Bradfield was one of five players ruled out Friday, with the others being starting outside linebacker Daryl Smith (groin), defensive ends George Selvie (knee) and Austen Lane (foot) and running back Rashad Jennings (knee). Starting guard Uche Nwaneri (ankle) and cornerback Mike Harris (hamstring) were listed as probable.

Cox, out since early in the preseason opener with a hamstring injury, worked on a limited basis throughout the week.

"If there's a gray area, we'll hold off," Mularkey said of Cox. "It's been so long already why rush this one last time? If there's any gray we'll hold another week, definitely."

If Cox can't play, it's likely that Will Middleton will start opposite Aaron Ross for a second consecutive week. Middleton and second-year veteran Kevin Rutland shared time last week.

If Britton can't play, the Jaguars' offensive line likely will be left tackle Eugene Monroe, rookie Mike Brewster at left guard, Brad Meester at center, Nwaneri at right guard and veteran Guy Whimper at right tackle. The Jaguars this week signed offensive linemen Troy Kropog and Herb Taylor as free agents.

"It helped the new guys we signed this week – for them to get some work," Mularkey said. "It's going on all around the league. It's something we have to deal with, but it definitely helps to get a full week of practice together."

The Jaguars' offensive line has dealt with a slew of injuries since the start of training camp, with center John Estes, guard Will Rackley and guard Jason Spitz already on injured reserve.

"We have a really special group in that we have a lot of guys who can come in and fill in," Meester said. "Not every group can do that. These guys did a great job coming in in a tough situation (last week). They filled in like nothing had happened. I thought they did a great job.

"The ideal situation is to have a line play together for quite a while. As a group, we have to be able to make that work. Training camp helped us, because we rotated a lot of different guys."

With Jennings out, running back Maurice Jones-Drew – the NFL's leading rusher last season – is expected to start and get an increased workload. He rushed for 77 yards on 19 carries last week playing as a reserve after a 38-day holdout.

Smith has been out since before the preseason opener. A nine-year veteran, he not only is one of the Jaguars' best defensive players, he has missed only six games in eight previous seasons.

 "That tells you the extent of what he did," Mularkey said. "We talked (Thursday) and I told him I know how frustrated he is, because he is a durable guy and he hasn't missed a lot of games. He can look across the training room and there are guys who are done for the year. I don't think he's done for the year. I can't give you a week or a day that he's going to be ready to go, but it could be worse."

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