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First off the field: Cecil Shorts III limited in practice by hamstring

Posted Sep 4, 2014

Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III leaves practice with hamstring issue; Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley calls it “precautionary.”

JACKSONVILLE – Cecil Shorts III didn’t finish practice Thursday.

And although the reason for the wide receiver leaving practice was tightness in the hamstring that kept him out of much of 2014 training camp, Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley downplayed the situation.

The absence was about being safe and smart, Bradley said. Nothing more.

“It was more precautionary on our part, Bradley said Thursday as the Jaguars prepared to play the Eagles in the 2014 regular-season opener at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Sunday at 1 p.m.

Shorts, by a large margin the Jaguars’ leading returning receiver, missed the first two preseason games after missing all but the first day of training camp with a hamstring issue. That came after he missed much of organized team activities and the team’s on-field offseason work with a calf injury.

Bradley said the team had considered giving Shorts a veterans day off Thursday. The fourth-year veteran ran early, and experienced what Bradley called tightness in the area.

“We were looking at possibly giving him the day off today,” Bradley said. “We said, ‘Let’s go out and see how it feels, then we said, ‘Let’s not do it.’”

Shorts has caught 121 passes for 1,756 yards and 10 touchdowns the past two seasons. He missed the final two games of the 2012 season with a concussion, and then was hampered by a groin injury much of last season before the injury kept him out of the final three regular-season games.

After missing the first two preseason games, he played 15 plays in Week 3 against Detroit, and then played into the second quarter in the preseason finale to ensure he was ready for the regular season. He said late last week he felt he had the ideal amount of time since returning to prepare.

Jaguars rookie receiver Allen Robinson also missed extensive time in the preseason and training camp with a hamstring issue. While tightness also was an early issue with Robinson, Bradley said Shorts’ situation is different.

“He ran and was feeling good,” Bradley said. “Then he said, ‘I just feel a little tightness,’ and we said, ‘That’s it.’ That’s what I’m hoping, anyway, but it doesn’t feel like that (level of seriousness).’’

Shorts is by far the most experienced Jaguars receiver with the most NFL production, having 123 career receptions for 1,786 yards and 11 touchdowns. The Jaguars other receivers are rookie Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns and second-year veteran Mike Brown.

Brown has 32 career receptions for 446 yards and two touchdowns.

Robinson returned to full-participation status Thursday after being limited Wednesday. Robinson, who missed all four preseason games, hadn’t practiced full since July 31, when he reinjured a hamstring that had kept him out much of the offseason.

Bradley said while there has been focus on the inexperience at the receiver positions, Lee, Robinson and Hurns aren’t thinking that way.

“Our guys look at it as great opportunity and a great challenge,” Bradley said. “Talking to the three rookie receivers, it’s like, ‘We don’t feel like rookies; we’re excited about getting up there and balling … let’s go. What a great opportunity.’ That’s how you hope they would talk and I think it spreads throughout the team.’”

Also Thursday:

*Rookie backup quarterback Blake Bortles, as expected, took repetitions with the first-team offense for a second consecutive day. Bradley said Bortles took about two first-team reps during 10-play periods, as had been the plan as the No. 3 overall selection enters the regular-season backing up starting veteran Chad Henne. Bradley said an emphasis in practice is getting Bortles extensive time in individual work with quarterbacks coach Frank Scelfo. Bradley said Bortles told him that sort of work with Scelfo had benefitted him during preseason and training camp. “He really brought that to my attention and thought that was a really good period for him,” Bradley said. …

*Rookie running back Storm Johnson (ankle), offensive tackle Austin Pasztor (hand) and tight end Clay Harbor (calf) missed practice for a second consecutive day, while linebacker Geno Hayes and defensive tackle Roy Miller had veterans days off. Pasztor is expected to miss at least the first two weeks of the season and Harbor isn’t expected to play Sunday. …

*In addition to Robinson, kicker Josh Scobee (quad), guard Zane Beadles (calf), defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks (shoulder) and punter Bryan Anger (groin) practiced full after working limited on Wednesday. All missed the preseason finale last Thursday. …

*Scobee said earlier in the day he expected to kick against Philadelphia. He had said Wednesday that the results of how he kicked Wednesday would determine his status for the opener. Bradley said there had been doubt about Scobee’s availability for the opener when he initially injured his quad against Detroit in Week 3 of the preseason. “We counted out the days and said, ‘We should have 18 days and we’re hoping that he should be okay,’” Bradley said. “It worked out. He did a nice job today and feels good. We’re fortunate we had that many number of days.” …

*Rookie offensive tackle Josh Wells (shoulder) worked limited for a second consecutive day and rookie center Luke Bowanko (quad) worked full for a second consecutive day.


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