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 Houston Texans at Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas, Sunday….
1. Will Cecil Shorts III get the ball?The week's early storyline began fading Wednesday, with wide receiver Cecil Shorts III saying of his comments following a loss to Arizona Sunday, "That's over with…. That's it. We're moving on to Houston." Shorts in the immediate aftermath of the loss Sunday expressed disappointment he hadn't been used more, and Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said while he didn't want players habitually saying such things publicly he understood Shorts' feelings. Players said Bradley said essentially the same thing when he addressed the team Wednesday. Bradley also emphasized Wednesday that he didn't think Shorts was trying to bring the team down with his comments, and that his feelings arose from a desire to perform well and help the team. Will Shorts get the ball more on Sunday? "I guess we'll see Sunday," Shorts said with a smile, drawing laughter from the gathered media.
2. Is the run defense for real?The Jaguars rank 32nd against the run league-wide, but have improved significantly in recent weeks, allowing 83 yards to Chris Johnson and the Tennessee Titans two weeks ago and 14 yards to Arizona last week. The Texans recently lost running back Arian Foster for the season, but they rank 12th in the NFL with 120.3 yards per game and their downhill, zone-blocking scheme is a core part of their offensive philosophy. "We know Houston is run, run, play-action pass and -… boom," middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said. "Stopping the run obviously is going to be key. That will be our first priority."
3. What do the Jaguars need to do to run?The Jaguars rank 32nd in the NFL in rushing and are averaging 2.7 yards per carry this season. The issue has been more pronounced in recent weeks, with the Jaguars rushing for 1.8 yards per carry against the Titans and 2.0 yards against the Cardinals. Bradley earlier in the week said the team needed to find a way to run, and that figures to be a focus this week. The Texans' defense is ranked No. 1 in the NFL overall, but is 23rd against the run. "You're going to have one-on-one matchups up front and we'll try to double team (defensive end) J.J. (Watt) as much as we can and create some running lanes, but there are some running lanes in there," Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne said. "Whether they are just stopping the pass that much or teams are just trying to run the ball that's another note. We're going to try to run the ball."
4. How do you stop J.J. Watt?Watt, the Texans' defensive end, remains one of the NFL's top defensive players, having registered 8.5 sacks, a league-high 30 quarterback hits and a league-high 15 tackles for loss. He also has three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. "You have to know where Watt is at all times," Henne said. The Texans move the 3-4 end from side to side, but he'll perhaps line up most often opposite the left guard position, which could be second-year veteran Mike Brewster. Starting guard Will Rackley missed has missed the last two games with a concussion and was limited Wednesday. "J.J. Watt is one of the best players in the NFL," Brewster said. "It's obviously a challenge."
5. How's Poz?Posluszny, who missed last week's game with a concussion, was cleared to practice Monday and worked limited Wednesday. He said early Wednesday he had worked out Monday and Tuesday and expects to play Sunday. "I'd be disappointed in myself if I didn't play Sunday," he said, with Bradley saying that Posluszny took most of the reps in practice Wednesday. Eighteen players were listed on the Jaguars' injury report Wednesday, with Bradley saying wide receiver Mike Brown (shoulder), wide receiver Stephen Williams (Achilles) and wide receiver Stephen Burton (concussion) are the most serious.