AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Is it time to buy into Jacksonville Jaguars running back Denard Robinson as a legitimate fantasy starter?

Robinson
 ESPN senior fantasy writer Christopher Harris said during a recent Fantasy Underground podcast with ESPN insider Field Yates that Robinson’s recent performance (235 yards in the Jaguars’ past two games) has made him a believer.

You can listen to the podcast here, but here are a couple excerpts of Harris’ thoughts on Robinson:
  • "I don’t think either one of us was ready to say, ‘Oh, this is a total fluke.’ We liked what we saw in that first game, but we said let’s see him do it against a better defense and let’s see a variety of play calls."
  • "What distinguishes Robinson is speed. Straight-line line speed. Really fast to the hole and then he goes. I think the line does seem to be playing better. Or, I guess you could say, maybe having a guy who gets there in the blink of an eye makes them seem better. What I haven’t really seen yet from him so far is open-field agility. I’m not saying he doesn’t have it, because we saw it at Michigan. He has some wiggle. He has some moves, but you haven’t seen much of it in abundance."

 
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Reading the coverage of the Jacksonville Jaguars ...

Left tackle Luke Joeckel said he plans on playing on Sunday against Cincinnati after a quicker-than-anticipated recovery from a concussion, writes the Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran.

Fox Sports Florida's Ken Hornack grades the Jaguars in his midseason report. The offense gets a D, the defense gets a C, and the special teams gets a C-minus.

The Jaguars switched up their plan this season and are leaving for London on Sunday night after playing the Bengals in Cincinnati, writes the T-U's Hays Carlyon. The team asked the NFL to give them an East Coast road game before their London game.

From this blog: the stat of the week, Halloween themed question of the week, and linebacker Paul Posluszny talking about how being injured drives him crazy.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's getting to the point where you need a spreadsheet to figure out what's going on in the Jacksonville Jaguars secondary.

Let's start with the easiest things to figure out: Cornerback Alan Ball was placed on injured reserve on Wednesday with a biceps injury and nickelback Will Blackmon will miss at least three weeks with a broken left index finger, which he had surgically repaired on Tuesday.

After that ... well, it will take a while. Here goes:

Cornerback Dwayne Gratz was limited in practice on Wednesday with a groin injury. That's separate from the hip flexor injury that nearly kept him out of last Sunday's game against Miami. If he's healthy, he'll likely start at right cornerback (replacing Ball) against Cincinnati on Sunday. If not, his likely replacement is Jeremy Harris, one of the team's two seventh-round picks in 2013. Harris played a career-high 10 snaps on defense and on special teams in last Sunday's loss to Miami.

The starter at left cornerback will be Demetrius McCray, the Jaguars' other seventh-round draft pick in 2013. McCray was inserted into the lineup after Gratz suffered a concussion against San Diego on Sept. 28. He started the following week when Gratz was out and held on to the job when Gratz returned.

With Blackmon out, the Jaguars will use safety Sherrod Martin as the nickelback. He spent 2009-12 with Carolina before signing with Jacksonville last December. He was waived in final cuts but re-signed on Sept. 23. He has played mainly on special teams in the last five games.

The Jaguars promoted cornerback Peyton Thompson from the practice squad last Saturday as insurance in case Gratz couldn't play against the Dolphins.

While there is a rash if injuries at corner, the safeties remain healthy. Second-year players Johnathan Cyprien and Josh Evans will start against the Bengals. Undrafted rookie Craig Loston would be next up in the rotation with Martin working at nickel back.

Got all that? All cleared up? Good, but don't get too comfortable -- things could change quickly.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- When Blake Bortles walked off the field after throwing his second pick-six against the Miami Dolphins last Sunday, Jacksonville Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch turned the sideline chat over to backup Chad Henne.

Not because he was too angry to talk to Bortles. He just thought the rookie from Central Florida needed to hear a different voice.

"I think there’s some times that you don’t always need to talk to Dad," Fisch said. "Sometimes you talk to big brother and that helps."

Bortles has turned the ball over six times in the last two games. He lost one fumble and has thrown five interceptions, two of which were returned for touchdowns. That places him atop the NFL in interceptions (12) and pick-sixes (four). That’s a couple bad weeks, and Bortles is leaning on Henne to help him get through the roughest patch of his career.

"Obviously Chad has been in all these situations before," Bortles said Wednesday. "He’s thrown interceptions, he’s thrown touchdowns, he’s done it all. And to hear him and his take on it, I think that’s definitely something that’s good to hear.

"I think we’ve got a really good friendship. He tells me he doesn’t sugarcoat anything. He tells me the truth, which is awesome. He tells me if I am right or wrong, what he would have done, and I enjoy that. I ask him to keep telling me those things because I want to know."

Henne hasn’t held back, especially when it comes to turnovers. That wouldn’t accomplish anything, and it probably would end up doing more damage. Bortles is a bit of a gunslinger and likes to take chances, and that aspect of his game was something the Jaguars liked. But they’re trying to teach him to be smart about when to take those chances.

Take a deep shot on third-and-long from the middle of the field. If it’s intercepted, that’s the same as a punt. No harm, no foul. But don’t try to fit a ball into a tight window or throw across the body inside the red zone. That can cost points.

Fisch and head coach Gus Bradley have told Bortles that numerous times, but sometimes it’s better to hear it from Henne.

"I think it’s the best to have, I guess, your brothers out there or your teammates to come out and say it because I think it means a lot more coming from us, especially from me rather than Jedd or a coach," Henne said. "He respects it and I respect him, so it literally is like a brother. It’s tell him the truth and he tells me the truth."

Bradley said after the loss to the Dolphins he didn’t believe Bortles has lost confidence. Bortles admitted to being frustrated and upset for throwing the interceptions, but he said that’s not going to keep him from playing freely.

Henne has reinforced that thought to Bortles.

"Is he doing too much? I don’t think so, but he wants to win so bad that sometimes he tries to force a couple things in there, but he’s going to the right places with the football," Henne said. "If he was going off track and going off our reads and going different places, we’d have a conversation with that. But he’s going to the right places and some of the defensive players are making good plays on the ball."

Fisch said he knows Bortles is going to throw more interceptions, but he’d like Bortles to cut his total in half and throw just six in the final eight games.

"As a quarterback and as a rookie quarterback you’ve got to help them come along and grow and understand that he’s going to throw them," Fisch said. “I think if we’re at 12 right now and we can have this second [part of the] year at six, I think we can consider it a win."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars may have starting left tackle Luke Joeckel back on the field for Sunday’s game at the Cincinnati Bengals.

Joeckel
Joeckel has passed part of the NFL’s concussion protocol and has been cleared to participate in non-contact work in practice Thursday, and Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said he may be able to play against the Bengals. Joeckel suffered the concussion during the first quarter of the Jaguars’ 27-13 loss to Miami last Sunday.

The Jaguars had thought Joeckel would miss the Bengals game because they’ve had two other players suffer concussions this season and both missed the following week’s game before returning to the field. Joeckel has cleared part of the protocol quicker than anticipated.

"When I heard the news, I was like, ‘It can happen,’" Bradley said. "So it’s good. He still has another couple things he has to go through, but at least at this late in the week for him to have a chance to play on Sunday is great."

The Jaguars also could have cornerback Aaron Colvin on the field. The fourth-round pick has been on the PUP list all season as he recovers from a torn ACL in his right knee, an injury he suffered during Senior Bowl practice in late January. He practiced on a limited basis Wednesday.

Colvin also practiced on a limited basis last Wednesday but did not practice last Thursday or Friday.

The Film Don't Lie: Jaguars

October, 28, 2014
Oct 28
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A weekly look at what the Jacksonville Jaguars must fix:

The Jaguars had a chance to open up an early lead on the Miami Dolphins but managed just three points on five drives inside the Dolphins’ 40-yard line. That kind of production in plus territory won’t help the Jaguars as they try to win their first road game of the season Sunday in Cincinnati.

According to ESPN Stats & Information, the Jaguars are among the league’s worst teams in the red zone. They are last in average yards per play (1.88), average yards per game (8.0) and Total QBR (4.2) in the red zone. Their third-down conversion rate in the red zone is 31st (22.2 percent). The issues that have plagued the Jaguars all season inside the 20-yard line were on display against the Dolphins in a 27-13 loss.

The Jaguars’ first drive reached the Miami 30 before Josh Scobee had his third field goal attempt of the season blocked because of a protection breakdown. The second drive reached the Miami 28 and Scobee’s 46-yard field goal was good, but a holding penalty on Abry Jones nullified the kick and the Jaguars ended up punting.

The Jaguars got to the Miami 1-yard line on the next drive after a pass from Blake Bortles to Cecil Shorts (and an Allen Hurns fumble recovery after Shorts was tackled), but an illegal shift penalty brought the ball back to the Miami 28. Bortles threw the first of his two interceptions returned for TDs on the next play.

Drive No. 4 resulted in a field goal but No. 5 ended when Bortles fumbled after a 9-yard run.

A blocked field goal, two penalties, an interception and a fumble killed drives. You can tag the interception return for a TD as a youthful mistake because Bortles is still learning how to play QB and he made a poor decision to throw across his body, but the rest are just inexcusable mental errors.

The Jaguars have to be more disciplined. With six rookies starting or playing regularly on offense, there is little margin for error. They'll have to eliminate careless penalties, turnovers and poor decisions to win in Cincinnati. The Bengals’ defense ranks in the top 10 in red zone efficiency, Total QBR and third-down conversion rate.

"I’m sure there’s things on the offensive line, as receivers, as running backs, we all could have done better to help the offense," Shorts said after the loss to the Dolphins. "So if [Bortles] throws an interception it’s on all of us, not just him. As an offense we’ve got to find ways to make plays, and when we’re in their territory get in the end zone, get the field goals, get something. We can’t leave the defense out to dry."
Blackmon
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars are now down two defensive backs after the team announced Monday that nickelback Will Blackmon suffered a fractured left index finger in Sunday's loss to Miami and will miss an extended period of time.

Blackmon said he suffered the injury early on but thought it was just a sprain or bad bruise. He played the rest of the game and found out the severity of the injury following X-rays.

The Jaguars still don't know the status of starting cornerback Alan Ball, who missed the Dolphins' game with a biceps injury. He will continue to be evaluated this week.

The Jaguars did get some good news on Monday, though. Tight end Marcedes Lewis has been cleared to return to practice. He suffered a high ankle sprain against Washington and has been on injured reserve/designated to return since. He should be eligible to return for the Jaguars' Nov. 23 game at Indianapolis.
JACKSONVILLLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Ryan Davis said earlier last week he was thinking about doing a windmill celebration in honor of injured teammate Andre Branch if he got a sack in Sunday’s game against Miami.

So when he dropped Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill for a 4-yard loss early in the first quarter, that’s exactly what he did.

"I had to do it for my brother," Davis said after the Jaguars’ 27-13 loss at EverBank Field. "Obviously it would have meant more if we would have gotten the W."

Davis showed he’s capable of duplicating more than Branch’s sack celebration. He did a pretty good job of duplicating Branch’s production, too. Davis had a pair of sacks and hit Tannehill three times while rushing from inside as a tackle and outside as a LEO.

Davis beat guard Daryn Colledge for his first sack on a third-and-8 play on the Dolphins’ first drive. Davis was able to get a step on Colledge’s outside shoulder and fought past him to tackle Tannehill from behind.

Davis’ second sack came on a blitz on a third-and-8 play early in the third quarter. The Jaguars rushed seven and overloaded the right side of the Dolphins’ offensive line. Davis beat right tackle Ja'Wuan James and tackled Tannehill as the quarterback tried to step up into the pocket.

"All of us up front, we pride ourselves on being able to get after the quarterback," Davis said. "Obviously Andre’s production been very great, and all I did today was try to come in and fill that role for my brother."

During -- and after -- the play. The windmill celebration earned Branch’s approval.

More thoughts on the day after ...

Not having cornerback Alan Ball on the field didn’t hurt in pass defense. Demetrius McCray and Dwayne Gratz played pretty well against the Dolphins. The two combined were credited with only one tackle, but both were solid in coverage. Gratz was questionable with a hip flexor, but he had no issues with the injury and was able to stay with Mike Wallace in one-on-one.

Even though Blake Bortles threw two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns, the Jaguars were still in the game, down 11 points, midway through the third quarter. It also appeared they were on the verge of getting great field position by forcing the Dolphins to punt from inside their own 10-yard line after Tannehill failed to hook up with Wallace for a 50-yard gain down the right sideline. It would have given the Jaguars a chance to re-gain some momentum. However, one official overruled another and ruled it a catch, and replays showed it was the correct call. The Jaguars had their punt return team already on the field and had to run the defense back out there. It was a momentum shift, and the Dolphins took advantage by scoring a touchdown four plays later to go up 24-6. “It was a big play,” coach Gus Bradley said. “Any time you get an explosive play, a long pass like that, it’s a challenge.”

Punt returner Ace Sanders is still doing too much dipping and dodging instead of aggressively heading upfield. The returner’s job is to make the first guy miss and get vertical to get as many yards as possible, but Sanders seems to be hesitating too much instead of picking a seam and hitting it hard. He averaged 5.6 yards on five returns against the Dolphins and only got 7 yards on a line-drive kick that should have resulted in a sizeable return. It ended up being called back because of a penalty anyway, but it was an example of Sanders’ indecisiveness.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It's safe to assume that the Jacksonville Jaguars will be without left tackle Luke Joeckel for next Sunday's game at Cincinnati.

Joeckel
Joeckel suffered a concussion during Sunday's 27-13 loss to Miami at EverBank Field, and based on the Jaguars' past history with concussions he likely won't be able to get back on the field until the Nov. 9 game against Dallas in London. Though every player responds differently to a concussion, the past two Jaguars players with concussions this season missed the following week's game: cornerback Dwayne Gratz and safety Johnathan Cyprien.

Undrafted rookie Josh Wells replaced Joeckel in the lineup after he was hurt during the first quarter against Miami. Wells or veteran Sam Young, who was inactive on Sunday, would likely start in his place against the Bengals.

"Coach [Luke] Butkus always tells us it’s next man up if something happens," Wells said. "I felt comfortable [going in for Joeckel]. A little nervous at first, but once I got in there, it was just football. It was nice to play next to Zane [Beadles]. He talked to me a bunch, helped me a lot, so it felt all right."

Joeckel, the No. 2 overall pick in 2013, missed the final 11 games of his rookie season with a broken ankle. He had started every game this season.
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles has made a lot of mistakes this season. That's not a surprise. That's what rookie quarterbacks generally do.

Heck, it's expected. There will be bad reads and bad throws, poor decisions and poor ball security. The hope is that those mistakes, which are necessary on-the-job training, don't come at critical times and don't cost you a game.

Until Sunday, they hadn't. The Jaguars hadn't been losing games because of Bortles' mistakes -- there were far too many other reasons -- but that changed against the Miami Dolphins. Bortles committed three turnovers, including two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns, and finally did keep the Jaguars from winning.

[+] EnlargeBlake Bortles
Gary McCullough/AP PhotoDolphins defensive end Derrick Shelby tackles Jaguars QB Blake Bortles in their Week 8 game on Sunday in Jacksonville, Fla.
"I'm killing us," Bortles said after the Dolphins' 27-13 victory at EverBank Field. "I've got to try to eliminate different things and get better."

For the first time since he took the field for the second half of the team's loss against Indianapolis in Week 3, Bortles looked a bit rattled. Until he went 5-for-6 in a meaningless fourth quarter, Bortles had completed only 13 of 28 passes for 140 yards. He had air-mailed a pass over a wide-open Denard Robinson, threw a couple passes behind Allen Robinson, and short-armed another on what would have led to a first down.

Some of those mistakes came as a result of pressure -- the Dolphins did sack him four times and were in his face all afternoon -- but it was more troublesome that his three biggest mistakes were simply poor decisions. The interception that safety Louis Delmas took back 81 yards for a touchdown came because Bortles tried to throw back across his body to tight end Nic Jacobs.

The interception that cornerback Brent Grimes took back 22 yards for a touchdown came on a throw Bortles shouldn't have made. Grimes easily jumped in front of Cecil Shorts III and essentially walked into the end zone.

Bortles' fumble, which the Dolphins turned into a field goal, came because Bortles didn't have the ball tucked away when he was tackled by linebacker Jelani Jenkins after scrambling for a first down.

"It's going to happen. I think it's part of it [learning to be an NFL quarterback]," Bortles said. "Obviously you don't want to do it but it's going to happen and there's no reason to think about it or dwell on it or do anything. You can't do anything. It's over with. It's done. So try to move on and not let it happen again."

The problem is those are mistakes he has made before. Repeatedly, and as recently as last week against Cleveland. That's the most disturbing part of what happened Sunday. Bortles, who has thrown 12 interceptions in six games (five in the last two) and is on pace to tie Peyton Manning's rookie record of 28, doesn't seem to be learning from his mistakes.

"We don't want to panic and throw everything out because he's doing some really good things," coach Gus Bradley said. "It's just those plays. How can we take care of those?

"… To make mistakes is human but to make them repeatedly, that's where you have to take it out of your game. Those things we have to challenge him on."

On-the-job training in the NFL can be brutal. It can, and has, sowed doubt and ruined confidence. All you have to do to see that is go back through the first-round quarterback busts over the past two decades. Bortles' isn't at that point and his teammates are confident he'll never get close.

"Blake's a fighter. He'll be fine," Shorts said. "There's going to be adversity. If you're Peyton Manning, you're going to have days like these. If you're Tom Brady, you're going to have days like these. It's just adversity and like I said to somebody else, to have success you're going to go through adversity. There's going to be tough times. Blake will do a great job of bouncing back."

Why is what Shorts said believable? Because Bortles is angry and frustrated with himself and he's as confident in his arm and abilities as he was the day he was drafted No. 3 overall. He says he's not going to quit taking chances, either.

He's also not accepting any excuses, either.

"It's not like this is the first time I've done it," Bortles said. "It's not like you're throwing these routes and this stuff for the first time. I've done it for a while now and I think it's not really an excuse to say, 'You're a rookie. You're going to make rookie mistakes.' I've been doing it for almost my whole life."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Observed and heard in the locker room after the Jaguars' 27-13 loss to Miami:
  • Shorts takes blame: Because he's a veteran, receiver Cecil Shorts said he should shoulder much of the blame for the offense's poor performance in the first half. Though the Jaguars outgained the Dolphins 219-56, the Dolphins led 10-3 because the Jaguars scored just three points on five trips inside the Miami 40-yard line. "You could put the offense on me," Shorts said. "I need to find ways to make plays. There's no reason we should be down there four times in their territory and not get points. Defense is playing lights out. They can only help us so much without us helping, so we've got to do our part."
  • No division: Defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks said there is no strife between the defense and offense about the offense not performing. He admitted the defense has little margin for error because of the offensive struggles but said there's no point in getting angry about it. "You can't get frustrated," he said. "Our job is to play defense. We can't worry about what the offense does. If they go out and turn the ball over, it's our job to go out, get the ball back or get a stop and at least hold them to three. We've been doing a good job with that. And we just have to continue to do it. They'll come along soon enough."
  • Run game missing: Denard Robinson ran for 108 yards to become the first Jaguars player to rush for more than 100 yards in consecutive games since Maurice Jones-Drew did it in three games in a row in 2011. However, Robinson didn't get much work in the second half. After running for 90 yards on 11 carries in the first half, he ran just seven times for 18 yards in the second -- and four of those carries came on the Jaguars' second possession in the third quarter. The Jaguars ran the ball only nine times in the second half.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A few thoughts on the Jacksonville Jaguars' 27-13 loss to the Miami Dolphins at EverBank Field:

What it means: When you play a rookie quarterback, you’re going to get clunkers, and that’s what Blake Bortles delivered on Sunday. He committed three turnovers, including throwing two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns, and played poorly for the second consecutive week. Expectations were raised by his solid play in his first four games, but Bortles hasn’t played well the past two weeks: five interceptions and a fumble. This isn’t necessarily a setback in his development, but it is an indication that he probably wasn’t as ready to play immediately as many thought. However, when the Jaguars switched from Chad Henne to Bortles at halftime in Week 3, there was no turning back, and the Jaguars’ rookie-loaded offense must grow with him. That means fighting through the kind of game Bortles had on Sunday: 18-for-34, 221 yards, 2 INTs, one TD, one fumble.

Stock watch: When Denard Robinson ran for 127 yards and a touchdown in last week’s game against Cleveland, there was a lot of optimism that the Jaguars had found their running back of the future. There also was an element of: do it again. Robinson did against the Dolphins, rushing for 108 yards to become the first Jaguars player to rush for more than 100 yards in consecutive games since Maurice Jones-Drew did it in three games in a row in 2011. Robinson averaged 6.0 yards per carry and again ran through contact, something that was missing the first part of the season. The 231-pound Toby Gerhart, who had missed the previous two games with a foot injury, averaged just 2.5 yards per carry (10 yards on four carries).

Scobee struggles: Kicker Josh Scobee had a rough day against the Dolphins. He had a 47-yard field goal attempt blocked at the end of the Jaguars’ first drive. He had a 46-yard field goal nullified by a holding penalty by Abry Jones. He also missed a 45-yard attempt but had that wiped out by an offside penalty on Miami’s Dion Jordan.

Game ball: The players who were forced to step into bigger roles Sunday after injuries to middle linebacker Paul Posluszny and defensive Andre Branch both played solidly. J.T. Thomas started inside and ended up with six tackles and an interception in the end zone. Ryan Davis had two sacks, which moved him into a tie with Chris Clemons for the team lead at 4.0. They helped the defense limit the Dolphins' offense to just 56 yards and three points in the first half. It seems unusual to give the award to a pair of defensive players when the Dolphins scored 27 points, but two of those touchdowns were scored by the defense. The loss of Posluszny is critical to the defense, but Thomas, at least this week, did a solid job.

What’s next: The Jaguars will play at Cincinnati next Sunday. After the game they will board a trans-Atlantic charter for their annual trip to London, where they will play the Dallas Cowboys on Nov. 9.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- If defensive end Ryan Davis is able to take down Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill on Sunday, Jacksonville Jaguars fans might see a familiar celebration.

"I might just windmill," Davis said. "If it happens, look out for it. I thought about it but haven’t given it too much thought. I’ve got to get to the quarterback first."

Davis’ windmill celebration would be a tribute to defensive end Andre Branch, who will miss at least six weeks with a groin injury. Whenever Branch gets a sack, he celebrates by leaning back and windmilling his arms.

Davis
Davis is going to get a lot more playing time while Branch is out. The second-year player from Bethune-Cookman College has been productive in his limited playing time through the first seven games, recording seven tackles, two sacks and two pass breakups. Now he’ll be the top backup to starter Chris Clemons.

Davis said he’s not concerned with getting sacks or making big plays as much as he is maintaining the level of play along the defensive front when Branch was in the game. That’s a pretty high level because Branch is tied for the team lead in sacks (3.0), has 13 tackles, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

"The main thing is just going in and make sure nothing is going to drop off," Davis said. "Obviously Andre’s production has been high this season and I just want to go in there and do my part and make sure we don’t drop off or miss any steps.

"I just want to go in there and make sure I’m not half-stepping or let anything happen that Andre wouldn’t let happen."

The 6-foot-2, 260-pound Davis originally signed with the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent in May 2012. Since then, he has shuttled between the practice squad and active roster. He played in seven games last season and had one sack, an interception and a pass breakup.

"Ryan has been very productive," defensive coordinator Bob Babich said. "He’s rushed inside, he’s rushed outside. Last week they doubleteamed him in a two-minute situation when he was inside playing defensive tackle. He came off the double team and made the tackle for a loss, so he’s shown that he can do a lot of different things."

With the addition of Clemons in free agency, the Jaguars have used a package that puts four pass-rushers on the field at the same time. Because of his size, Davis lined up inside, and that’s where he has had success. With Branch out, though, Davis is going to get more reps outside.

He’s also going to get some additional reps in his hotel room on Saturday night. He has to practice the windmill a couple of times, he joked, because he knows Branch will be on the sideline on Sunday.

"If I mess it up he’ll let me know," he said.

Sunday's Jacksonville Jaguars-Miami Dolphins matchup at EverBank Field features two teams coming off big victories and searching for something neither has had in a while: a winning streak.

The Jaguars haven't won back-to-back games since Weeks 12-14 of the 2013 season, and the Dolphins haven't accomplished that since Weeks 13-15 of last season. Even worse for the Jaguars: They haven't won back-to-back home games since the 2011 season.

ESPN Dolphins reporter James Walker and Jaguars reporter Michael DiRocco break down the matchup.

Michael DiRocco: Everyone in Jacksonville is convinced Blake Bortles is the franchise quarterback the team has needed. What's the feeling in Miami on Ryan Tannehill?

James Walker: Just like Tannehill's play, the mood has been up and down on Miami's starting quarterback. There was a lot of optimism entering this season that Tannehill would carry Miami's offense. The Dolphins hired a new offensive coordinator in Bill Lazor, who helped quickly develop Nick Foles last season in Philadelphia. So many Dolphins fans, perhaps prematurely, expected quick results from Tannehill, as well. But it's been a slow progression in his third season. He was average for the first three games. Then, Tannehill started to put together better performances against the Oakland Raiders, Green Bay Packers and Chicago Bears. Last week was really the first time in 38 starts that I felt Tannehill was the best player on the field. He started with 14 straight completions, which Tannehill told me he's never done at any level to start a game. He appears to be turning the corner and clicking in this new offense. But the bottom line is Tannehill is still 18-20 as a starter. Gaining consistency over these next 10 games will be key.

I'm not sure if the Jaguars getting their first win makes them more or less dangerous to upset the Dolphins. What are your thoughts?

DiRocco: If you had asked me this question on Sunday night, I would have said more dangerous. The defense just played its best game, and the offense took advantage of some Cleveland turnovers and scored a season-high 24 points despite Bortles playing his worst game. Things had been starting to come together for the Jaguars in the previous two weeks, and they finally put a complete game together, eliminated mistakes and made big plays. But the loss of middle linebacker Paul Posluszny (torn pectoral muscle) for the rest of the season and defensive end Andre Branch (groin) for at least six weeks is a huge blow. It's almost as if this team is snakebitten. They get some good news (a victory) but can't enjoy it because of the injuries. That will definitely impact the team's psyche because there are so many young players (29 first- or second-year players) who haven't been through a situation like this before.

How does the return of Dion Jordan impact the defense? Will that help Cameron Wake?

Walker: I don't expect a huge impact from Jordan right away. Six weeks is a long time to be away from football, especially during a suspension when you can't communicate with coaches or have a playbook. Jordan practiced with the team for the first time since Aug. 28 on Tuesday and a lot has changed. Backups such as Derrick Shelby, Chris McCain and Terrence Fede have stepped forward and developed. Miami's defense also added a few wrinkles since the summer. Jordan has a lot of catching up to do. The practice week is still ongoing, and how he responds physically and mentally will be key. If Jordan sees action Sunday in Jacksonville, his biggest contribution would most likely be on special teams until he gets his legs under him.

How much will the loss of Posluszny impact Jacksonville's defense?

DiRocco: As mentioned before, it's huge, and it goes beyond what he does on the field. Posluszny has his limitations in pass coverage, but he's a fantastic two-down linebacker. He's a tackling machine, one of the team's leaders, one of the team's smartest players, is responsible for calling the defensive plays and is the Jaguars' best defensive player. There's no way the Jaguars will be able to replace his production or leadership, especially since they're going to be relying on players who have mainly contributed on special teams (J.T. Thomas and LaRoy Reynolds). Though the Jaguars' defensive line has played pretty well, not having Posluszny makes the run defense considerably weaker -- not good since the Dolphins are fourth in the NFL in rushing.

The Dolphins had a big win in Chicago last week. Was that an aberration or are they legitimate contenders for a playoff spot?

Walker: I won't put the Dolphins into the "contender" category until they can at least win two games in a row -- a feat they have yet to do this season. The Dolphins are in that middle of the pack with about 12-15 other teams about which you're not sure what to expect week to week. There have been times -- such as wins against the Chicago Bears and New England Patriots -- when the Dolphins have looked like contenders. There is certainly enough talent, especially when the quarterback is playing well, but Miami hasn't developed enough consistency to this point to inspire confidence this is a 10-win team. We will learn a lot about the Dolphins with how they respond Sunday in Jacksonville.

Have the Jaguars finally found a spot for Denard Robinson at running back?

DiRocco: It appears so, although I don't think you're going to see him get the kind of workload he did against Cleveland (22 carries) on a consistent basis. Though he's the most explosive of the Jaguars' backs, he's not used to carrying the ball that many times. Carrying the ball as a running back is different than carrying it as a quarterback, the way he did during his career at Michigan. And, he's not used to taking the kind of pounding he did on Sunday. When Toby Gerhart returns from a foot injury (which should be Sunday), Robinson's carries will decrease, though he should still be the No. 1 back. I'd also like to see him used more on the edge and in the passing game, where he can use his open-field abilities a little more.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Denard Robinson carried the ball 22 times for 127 yards and a touchdown in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ 24-6 victory over Cleveland last Sunday.

He might have more touches in Sunday’s game against Miami. Or fewer.

Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch isn’t yet sure how the carries will be split with Toby Gerhart expected to make his return for a foot injury. Robinson could get the bulk of the work again, or it could be the Gerhart show. Rookie Storm Johnson could get more work.

"I think we’ll continue to mix and match a little bit," Fisch said Wednesday. "I don’t know exactly how that will all play out yet."

Gerhart practiced Wednesday on a limited basis after being held out of the last two games in order to give his right foot time to heal. He first injured the foot in the season opener against Philadelphia and aggravated the injury against Pittsburgh on Oct. 5. The Jaguars signed him to a three-year, $10.5 million contract in March to be the team’s No. 1 back, but the injury and offensive line struggles have limited him to 123 yards and 2.6 yards per carry in five games.

The Jaguars started Johnson against Tennessee on Oct. 12 and he gained just 21 yards on 10 carries; Robinson rushed for 22 yards on five carries. That production, plus the continued improvement Robinson has shown throughout the season in his transition from college quarterback to running back, earned him the start against the Browns.

"He showed that he is understanding the run game better," Fisch said. "He is understanding the stretch and cut, he’s understanding the stretch and bounce and understanding when you’re running outside zone, what’s your reads? Even earlier in the season, maybe we missed a read because we were too fast to the hole and the block didn’t develop quick enough. I think he’s understanding that and he’s understanding when he’s running inside he’s got to run with lower pad level and continue to protect the football."

Robinson averaged 5.8 yards per carry against the Browns in the most work he’s received in his career. He had never carried the ball more than nine times in any game, so Robinson was the most sore he’s been in his two-year NFL career on Monday.

"Got in the cold tub yesterday, stretched out a little bit, so I felt pretty good," Robinson said.

The former Michigan quarterback isn’t dwelling on his performance, though. He didn’t even revel in it on Sunday night.

"You’ve got to move forward," he said. "Right after the game I really wanted to move forward and watch film and try to break it down to see things I could have worked on. There was a couple plays I left out on the football field. I want to get better so I’ve got to make it happen this week."

Robinson and the running game will face a much tougher defense this Sunday. The Dolphins have the league’s fourth-ranked total defense and are ranked 10th against the rush. That doesn’t change Fisch’s commitment to run the ball because the passing game is predicated on play-action. How they split the carries, however, is still undetermined.

"I’m not ready to say that one yet," Fisch said. "It depends on how he [Robinson] is carrying the ball, I guess. I will take 22 for 120. If he wants to do that again, I’m all in."

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