JACKSONVILLE – Here's this week's Wednesday primer.
Each Wednesday morning during the 2013 regular season, jaguars.com senior writer John Oehser sets the stage for the Jaguars' media access that day by previewing major topics facing the team. Each Wednesday afternoon/evening, he will break down what was learned from Jaguars players and coaches that day.
Here's a look at five key Wednesday topics as the Jaguars prepare for the Houston Texans …
1. Will Cecil Shorts III get the ball?A main storyline around the Jaguars early this week was Cecil Shorts III, who after a loss to Arizona Sunday expressed disappointment he hadn't been used more in the game. He stood by his postgame comments the following day. Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said while he didn't want players making a habit of saying such things publicly he understood Shorts' feelings. What happens now? Will the Jaguars be able to get Shorts more touches? We won't know for sure until Sunday, but the question is sure to be asked Wednesday.
2. Is the run defense for real?This will be a question Wednesday because it will be an important issue Sunday. The Jaguars currently rank 32nd in the NFL in run defense, but improved dramatically last week, holding the Cardinals to 14 yards on 24 carries. The Texans recently lost running back Arian Foster for the season, but remain a team that emphasizes the run, ranking 12th in the NFL with 120.3 yards per game. Texans running back Ben Tate is one of the league's best backup running backs, and is effective in the Texans' zone-blocking scheme. There has been a lot of weirdness around the Texans this season, but it would be really weird if the Texans don't try to run Sunday.
3. What do the Jaguars need to do to run?This was a topic last week, but it almost certainly will gain momentum this week. After rushing for less than two yards a carry in a victory over Tennessee on November 10, the Jaguars averaged exactly 2.0 yards a carry against Arizona. Bradley emphasized the need to find a way to run this week – "We just have to," he said – and it's sure to be a much-asked question in the locker room Wednesday.
4. How do you stop J.J. Watt?This may not even be a fair question. Teams have been looking for a way to stop Texans defensive end J.J. Watt for the last season and a half with little success. He was the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year last season and he has a very real chance to be named again this season. You have to double team Watt and you have to account for him with a lot of different players, and this certainly will be a week-long concern for the Jaguars' coaching staff.
5. How's Poz?Paul Posluszny, the Jaguars' middle linebacker, on Monday was cleared to practice after missing Sunday's game with a concussion. But not only did Bradley say the Jaguars could limit Posluszny's contact in practice this week, concussions have become something to watch for a few days even when a player is cleared. His status this week will be a focus, as will the status of guard Will Rackley and wide receiver Stephen Burton, each of whom remained in the concussion program as of Monday. The status of cornerback Will Blackmon and wide receiver Mike Brown, each of whom have AC joint strains, also will be watched.