NFL Team Report - Jacksonville Jaguars - INSIDE SLANT
Armed with a vote of confidence from owner Shad Khan, coach Gus Bradley rejoined the Jacksonville Jaguars on Wednesday an hour into their first practice in London for Sunday's game against San Francisco.
Bradley heard cheers from the players when he arrived after missing the trip with the team Monday because of the death of his father, Roy Bradley, Sunday night. Bradley instead flew to Minnesota to be with his family.
The players had Bradley on their mind even though he wasn't with them.
Rookie safety Johnathan Cyprien said he sent Bradley a text message saying, "letting him know he was in my prayers."
Quarterback Chad Henne said, "I'm sure the players will be ready to rally around him."
Bradley said upon his return that the Jaguars had talked about developing a culture this year.
"I know that culture was talking about how we want to deal with it in the locker room, how we want to deal with things on the field, but they taught me about culture in situations that our family has gone through. How they stepped up, their support and not only Shad and (general manager) Dave (Caldwell) and Tony (Khan) and those guys but our whole team.
"The support has been off the charts. Our family really appreciates it and on top of that the NFL is a special, special deal. The number of coaches, GMs and owners that have reached out to me and our family has been incredible. I just want to tell you it was an awesome feeling and I learned some great things by being gone for a day and a half. I learned about our strength, I learned about weaknesses and I learned about spirit.
"I think it's a good reflection for us and I think I realized how important this team is and I think our team has all three of those traits. We have strengths, we have weaknesses and we have spirit and it's okay to have all three of them."
At the moment, the Jaguars have more weaknesses than strengths as they bring an 0-7 record into Sunday's game against San Francisco.
Meanwhile, despite the record in the first year of the regime of Caldwell and Bradley, Khan hasn't lost any confidence in them.
"I thought Dave and Gus were absolutely the two right guys for the job and as the season has unfolded, if I could be convinced more, I am," he said.
Caldwell and Bradley decided to strip down the team and start over, getting rid of such veterans as Daryl Smith and Rashean Mathis, who could have helped them.
Smith is starting in Baltimore and Mathis is starting in Detroit.
"Obviously, if you're a Jaguars fan, we want to do better," Khan said. "But we know the process we started, which is pretty much starting from the ground up and doing something ... we probably should have started earlier."
A year ago, Kahn kept general manager Gene Smith, who hired head coach Mike Mularkey to replace Jack Del Rio, who was fired when Khan bought the team by former owner Wayne Weaver, and Mel Tucker, who served as interim coach.
The Jaguars were then under the perception they were close to contending.
A 2-14 season convinced Khan they needed to start over and both Smith and Mularkey were fired.
"Speaking practically, we've got to get more talent. But I definitely feel we're moving in the right direction. Status quo, maintaining what we had, was not an option," Kahn said.
Khan also liked the idea of trading left tackle Eugene Monroe for fourth- and fifth-round draft picks earlier this month.
"His contract was expiring so what we have to do is maximize whatever assets we have," he said.
The contract of running back Maurice Jones-Drew is also expiring, but Khan indicated he would like to keep him and have him end his career in Jacksonville.
"He's an inspirational guy, hard-working, a leader, a quality guy," Kahn said. "But it takes two to tango."
That's a sign that they want Jones-Drew back at their price. And Jones-Drew may not think that is the right price.
SERIES HISTORY: 4th regular season meeting. The Jaguars lead the series, 2-1, although the 49ers won the last game in 2009 by a 20-3 margin. The 49ers lost the first two games between the teams in Jacksonville, so the home team has won all three. This one is being played on a neutral site in London, although the Jaguars are giving up the home game.
NFL Team Report - Jacksonville Jaguars - NOTES, QUOTES
Chad Henne is keeping the quarterback job even though Blaine Gabbert participated fully in practice Wednesday after returning from a hamstring injury.
Henne kept the job by throwing for more than 300 yards in his two starts while Gabbert was sidelined.
"We feel good about what Chad has done the last few weeks and we want to continue to build on that and see where it takes us," coach Gus Bradley said.
If Henne keeps playing well, Gabbert's career could be over in Jacksonville.
The Jaguars are expected to draft a quarterback on the first or second round next year and that means they could release Gabbert even though he has a year left on his contract after being selected with the 10th pick in the 2011 draft.
Henne's contract expires at the end of this season, but the Jaguars could decide to keep him to tutor the new quarterback. Henne didn't get the official word he was starting, but said he would prepare like he is starting.
--The Jaguars are heavy underdogs against the 49ers and also have to deal with the distractions of spending a week in London.
"I'm loving it," tight end Marcedes Lewis said. "I've got about 12 to 13 members of my family here and I was going to go see them in the city and they surprised me by coming out here and hopping on a train." he said.
So he returned on the train with him.
"Just seeing the agriculture, the environment, the different people, the accents, it's something new for me because I haven't been exposed to it before so I'm having a good time," he said.
--One of the Jaguars' goals it to get Maurice Jones-Drew more carries after he had nine carries against San Diego last week.
Quarterback Chad Henne said, "We had two possessions in the first half and we were down 14 to 20 points. At that time, it's, 'can we run the ball?' Yeah, we can run the ball. But more than likely we're trying to play catch up and throw the ball down the field and score touchdowns. If we can keep it balanced and keep the game close, we can run the ball a lot more."
--Dealing with the rain that often hits London and the field conditions at Wembley Stadium will be a challenge.
Defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks said, "It's going to be pretty tough. I don't usually go out for pregame, but I'll make an appearance this pregame, just to go out and get used to the field. It will be different. Never played here. Have to go out and get a feel for it. I think I can adjust pretty well."
BY THE NUMBERS: 11 - The number of points the Jaguars have scored in three home losses as they have just three field goals and a safety.
QUOTE TO NOTE: "We're going to play to the best of our abilities because that's what he's given us - his best very day, day after day, And we just want to show our appreciation for that in return." Linebacker Paul Posluszny on how the Jaguars will play hard for coach Gus Bradley, whose father died Sunday night.
NFL Team Report - Jacksonville Jaguars - STRATEGY AND PERSONNEL
--WR Justin Blackmon missed practice Wednesday with a hamstring injury, but is likely to play Sunday. He has played the last two games with the injury.
--WR Cecil Shorts missed practice Wednesday with a sprained SC joint, but he is likely to play Sunday because he played with the injury last week.
--LB Russell Allen was limited in practice Wednesday with a rib injury.
--CB Dwayne Gratz was limited in practice Wednesday with an ankle injury.
--DT Sen'Derrick Marks was limited in practice Wednesday with a knee injury.
--DT Roy Miller was limited in practice Wednesday with a shoulder injury.
--DE Andre Branch did the whole practice Wednesday, although he was on the injury report with a knee injury.
--S Johnathan Cyprien did the whole practice Wednesday even though he was on the injury report with a calf injury.
--DE Jason Babin had a veteran's day off Wednesday.
--C Brad Meester had a veteran's day off Wednesday.
--DE Jeremy Mincey returned to practice Wednesday after missing three games with a concussion.
--QB Blaine Gabbert returned to practice Wednesday after missing two games with a hamstring injury, but he's now the backup to Chad Henne.
--WR Stephen Burton returned to practice Wednesday after missing four games with a concussion.
--WR Ace Sanders returned to practice Wednesday after missing one game with a concussion.
--LB Paul Posluszny led the Jaguars with 14 tackles against the Chargers, 13 of them solo.
GAME PLAN: The Jaguars are going to put the emphasis on running the ball against the San Francisco run defense that is ranked 17th. Although Chad Henne passed for 318 yards against San Diego, the Jaguars ran for only 78 yards and Maurice Jones-Drew gained only 37 yards in nine carries.
MATCHUPS TO WATCH: Jaguars MLB Paul Posluszny vs. 49ers running back Frank Gore. Posluszny is the Jaguars' leading tackler and he has to keep Gore from ripping off big runs. Gore has 547 yards this year.
--Jaguars C Brad Meester vs. 49ers nose tackle Glenn Dorsey. If the Jaguars are to establish an inside run game, they need the veteran Meester to neutralize the interior of San Francisco's defensive line. Dorsey has been dealing with a hamstring injury.