JACKSONVILLE – Here’s this week’s Wednesday wrap up.
Each Wednesday morning during the 2013 season, jaguars.com senior John Oehser will set the stage for the Jaguars’ Wednesday media access by previewing major topics facing the team that day. Each Wednesday afternoon/evening, he will break down what was learned from Jaguars players and coaches that day.
Here’s the wrap up of Wednesday’s five topics as the Jaguars prepare for the Indianapolis Colts . . .
1. What’s next? The Jaguars are 0-3, but while the team has lost all three games by double digits, players Wednesday said the team continues to improve and they believe in the direction. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew said he didn’t think personnel changes were necessary on the offensive line or anywhere on offense. “It’s the third game of the year,” Jones-Drew said. “We’ve improved as an offense. We see all the little jokes, but each game we’ve gotten better. We want to continue doing that and start fast.” Said tight end Marcedes Lewis, “We’re getting better in every area. Every position group has their own emphasis, and we’ve been doing that.”
2. Time to relax? This absolutely was a topic Wednesday, with Head Coach Gus Bradley making news Monday by talking about wanting quarterback Blaine Gabbert to play with more freedom. Bradley said at the time that he liked how Gabbert looked while playing with the scout team in San Jose, Calif. on Friday, and that Gabbert looked good in that situation while just reading plays off cards and going out and trying to make plays. Speaking to the media Wednesday, Gabbert called that practice a fun experience, and said if the Jaguars can emulate that feeling of just being in the backyard making plays the Jaguars’ offense would be “extremely successful.” “The quarterback position has to take calculated risks,” he said. “You can’t be too greedy, but at the same time, you have to take shots. That’s kind of where the calculated risk thing comes in. … At our position, you do have to be a little riskier to make plays happen.”
3. Just how young will the secondary be Sunday? This will continue to be a topic all week. Cornerback Alan Ball did not practice Wednesday with a groin issue, but Bradley said he has a good chance to play on Sunday. Safety Dwight Lowery also missed practice with a concussion and Bradley talked about the possibility of rookie Josh Evans starting in his place. If Ball can’t play, rookie Demetrius McCray likely would make a second consecutive start. That sets up a scenario in which the Jaguars could start three rookies in the secondary – McCray, Evans and safety Johnathan Cyprien, a starter in the first three games. Veteran corner Will Blackmon practiced Wednesday after sustaining a head injury Sunday and likely will start a third consecutive game in place of rookie Dwayne Gratz, who started the regular-season opener.
4. Will Marcedes Lewis be available? It appears he will. Lewis, an eight-year veteran and a 2010 Pro Bowl selection, returned to practice in full pads Wednesday and he said he expects to do more Thursday. He missed the first three games with a calf injury. “My main thing is, ‘Get me to the game – get me to Sunday,’” Lewis said.
5. Can the Jaguars run? The Jaguars have struggled to run this season, ranking 30th in the NFL with an average of 52 yards per game. They also have averaged 2.4 yards per attempt as a team, with Jones-Drew rushing for 115 yards and a touchdown on 44 carries in three games. “We just have to be more efficient on run downs,” Jones-Drew said. “We started finding our stride a little bit in the second quarter, second half of the game (Sunday). We’ve got to start fast. We can’t have negative run yards in the beginning. We just have to continue to work on it and figure it out.”