Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Notebook

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Notebook

Article excerpt

Byline: Bart Hubbuch, Times-Union sports writer

BACKUPS TRAPP, SLAUGHTER QUESTIONABLE; GREEN DOUBTFUL

The Jaguars' injury picture dampened yesterday when coach Jack Del Rio downgraded three backup players.

Sprained ankles that have been slow to heal caused CB James Trapp and LB T.J. Slaughter to be bumped down to questionable (a 50-percent chance of playing) after both were listed as probable earlier in the week.

Rookie DE Brandon Green, meanwhile, was downgraded to doubtful because of a nagging quadriceps injury. Backup RB LaBrandon Toefield (ankle) practiced and remains probable.

Trapp's situation is the only one of significance to the Jaguars' plans this week. The veteran had been the nickel (third) cornerback before his mid-August injury, but that role now will be handled by last year's nickel back, Kiwaukee Thomas.

PEPPERS AWAITS WILLIAMS

Tomorrow marks the first regular-season appearance by Jaguars OT Maurice Williams since he suffered a season-ending broken leg at Tennessee last October.

Williams' reward for his comeback is no reward at all: a game-long matchup with Carolina DE Julius Peppers, the NFC's reigning Defensive Rookie of the Year. Peppers had 12 sacks in just 12 games last season.

Williams said this will be his toughest individual assignment since 2001, when as a rookie he had to face New York Giants All-Pro Michael Strahan in a preseason game.

"Peppers is young, athletic and has great speed," Williams said. "His first couple of steps are so good that you have to be ready right away.

"He also has a pretty big body and frame, and he plays hard. The guy has the whole package. It's going to be tough."

NFL'S TOP PUNTERS SQUARE OFF

Although it's not exactly a selling point, tomorrow's game will feature the NFL's top two punters in Chris Hanson of the Jaguars and Carolina's Todd Sauerbrun.

Hanson and Sauerbrun led their respective conferences in gross punting and net punting last year and each made the Pro Bowl.

Sauerbrun also is trying to join NFL legend Sammy Baugh as the only punters to lead the league in gross average for three consecutive seasons. …

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