JACKSONVILLE – Here's this week's Wednesday wrap up.
On Wednesday mornings during the 2013 regular season, jaguars.com senior writer John Oehser sets the stage for the Jaguars' Wednesday media access by previewing major topics facing the team. Each Wednesday afternoon/evening, he breaks down what was learned from Jaguars players and coaches that day.
Here's the wrap up of Wednesday's five topics as the Jaguars prepared to play the Arizona Cardinals at EverBank Field Sunday…
1. Can the Jaguars make it two?The Jaguars beat Tennessee Sunday, snapping a 13-game regular-season losing streak, but they haven't won back-to-back regular-season games since late in the 2010 season. They lost three consecutive games to end that season, and while they have won just eight regular-season games since, players said this week the focus remains more on preparation than victory itself. "I think it's just about putting it together," cornerback Alan Ball said. "I'm not thinking about it as, 'A win after another win.' Honestly, I'm just thinking about beating the Cardinals and thinking about preparing the way we did – being focused, being prepared the same way. That's my focus and that's what I want to carry on throughout." Said guard Uche Nwaneri, "We want to try to get the momentum rolling, keep it going."
2. Can the Jaguars win at home?There was no bigger topic when players spoke to the media Wednesday, and it wasn't just because it was the media's main theme. Head Coach Gus Bradley spoke to players Wednesday morning about the need to play better at home and establish EverBank Field as a home-field advantage. The Jaguars are 1-10 at EverBank the last two seasons, and have yet to score a touchdown there this season. "We've got to focus on what we need to focus on to get better and play better at home," wide receiver Cecil Shorts III said. "This is our town and we should want to be able to come here and play excellent, have it be to our advantage."
3. What do the Jaguars need to do to run?The Jaguars have struggled to run all season, ranking 31st in the NFL in the area and not yet surpassing 100 yards rushing in a game this season. Their 2.8-yards-per-carry average is exactly a yard below the franchise record low for a season, which the team tied last season. The situation was particularly evident last week when the Jaguars rushed for 54 yards on 30 carries against Tennessee, a 1.8-yards-per carry in a game in which running back Maurice Jones-Drew rushed 21 times for 41 yards. While running was difficult against Tennessee, one of the better defensive fronts in the NFL, the Jaguars registered two rushing touchdowns, with Jones-Drew scoring on a 6-yard run and Jordan Todman scoring on a 5-yarder. "We just want to be balanced," Jones-Drew said. "If you're a balanced offense, at the end of the day, it takes care of itself. You're not going to break runs early on and you're not going to throw bombs early on, but as the game goes on, if you're balanced and keeping the defense on its heels, you'll be able to do what you want to do. At the end of the day, we have to execute our game plan.
4. Will Paul Posluszny play?Look for Paul Posluszny's injury status to be an issue much of the week. The Jaguars' middle linebacker was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week Wednesday for his performance in a victory over Tennessee Sunday, but missed practice Wednesday with a concussion sustained late in the Tennessee game. Bradley said Wednesday while Posluszny likely will not practice Thursday, he is improving and has not been ruled out for Sunday. Guard Will Rackley practiced on a limited basis Wednesday after being in the concussion program since October 27, and wide receiver Stephen Burton missed practice with a concussion.
5. How will the defense line up?With Posluszny's status uncertain, the lineup at linebacker was an issue Wednesday. If Posluszny doesn't play Sunday, Bradley said veteran outside linebacker Russell Allen will move inside, with John Lotulelei playing for Allen outside. Defensive coordinator Bob Babich said he expects safety Winston Guy again to get repetitions along with starter Josh Evans at free safety. Guy played 27 snaps Sunday, with Evans playing 49.