Starting out with the bad news, the Jaguars put Sen’Derrick Marks on Injured reserve on Tuesday ending his season. After working his way back from a torn ACL suffered at the end of last year, Marks was playing an integral part for the interior of the Jaguars defensive line. “Your heart goes out to him for as hard as he’s worked to get back,” Head Coach Gus Bradley said at his press conference. “But he’ll be around the team. It’s hard to explain how important he is to our team on and off the field.”
At the same time, the Jaguars did get Allen Hurns back on the practice field after a trip to Philadelphia to have a “core issue” looked at. Whether it’s some kind of hernia or not, Hurns says he’ll take care of it at the end of the season. For now he was back on the field and expects to play on Thursday against the Titans. TJ Yeldon didn’t practice and neither did Dan Skuta. Both will be game time decisions according to Bradley
Despite the short week, the Jaguars Head Coach expects QB Blake Bortles to bounce back and play better on Thursday. “Oh, without a doubt. That’s what he has to do. You have to have a short memory. It’s kind of like a corner. There’s times when defense has to pick it up for the defense, offense has to pick it up for the defense there’s games like that, so hopefully the whole offense bounces back.”
It’s an accelerated learning curve when you’re playing a Thursday night game and Bradley knows that physically, the players need special care this week to be able to perform just four days after their last game.
“Everything that we’re doing this week is with the mindset of doing everything we can to get the players playing hard and fast on Thursday,” Bradley explained. “I know we’ve got to streamline it because of a short period of time, but it’s all coming together.”
It’s a return for Titans Head Coach Mike Mularkey. Serving as the interim since Ken Wisenhunt was fired, Mularkey is potentially auditioning for the job. But it’s another chance to be a head coach after weird and short stints in Buffalo and Jacksonville.
“It is. Again, based on what happened I didn’t know if I would have another opportunity at this and I’ve been given that opportunity,” Mike said from Nashville. “I’m not doing this job to be the head coach; I’m doing this job because this is what my role is right now. I’m just trying to get this team prepared to play every Sunday and get them motivated and confident that they can win every Sunday. It’s not a rehearsal.”
I the not-so-good AFC South, it’s an important game in the standings that could allow the winner to have playoff aspirations. Two weeks in a row, the Jaguars didn’t match their own expectations but still came away with a victory in Baltimore. Quarterback Blake Bortles acknowledged that he and the entire offense can play better and are looking for that chance.
“I know a lot of the guys have the mindset to where they can’t wait to have another opportunity, another chance to get on the field and play and in a sense not redeem yourself, but go play better, go make more plays, go do stuff like that,” he explained. “I think it’s a good, quick turnaround with a chance to do that.”
And for the first time in his career, Bortles won a game on the road and did so without playing very well. He could be down about that but instead chose to look at the upside of it: winning the game with other parts of the team getting the job done.
“I think it’s a good sign to be able to win when you don’t play well. I think that’s a thing that a lot of good teams are able to do. If you struggle in one phase, the other phases are able to pick it up, so I think we’re able to do that. The defense played unbelievably and special teams had a turnover as well and really picked us up offensively.”