Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Notebook; Smith Likely to Return; MJD Still Out

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Notebook; Smith Likely to Return; MJD Still Out

Article excerpt

Byline: Ryan O'Halloran

Jaguars linebacker Daryl Smith is expected to make his season debut Sunday against New England, but running back Maurice Jones-Drew will miss his ninth consecutive game.

Smith (groin) went through another practice Friday and will be activated from injured reserve on Saturday, barring any final-day setbacks.

Jones-Drew (foot) ran for a third consecutive day, but still hasn't done any individual or team drills.

"I think he has definitely made progress," said Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey, who left the door open for Jones-Drew to play in the Dec. 30 finale at Tennessee.

Smith underwent surgery in late October and increased his activity the last few weeks before returning to team practice this week.

A free agent after the year, Smith would be appearing in his 125th game with the Jaguars.

"This is what I've been waiting for, an opportunity to play and it's on the cusp," he said.

"It's been a good week of practice for me to be back out there and getting work. I'm looking forward to Sunday."

Mularkey said Smith will play "a pretty significant role. We'll see how he starts off."

Questionable to play are cornerback Aaron Ross (calf, limited Friday) and safety Dwight Lowery (foot, did not practice).

BRADFIELD BENCHED

Guy Whimper will replace Cam Bradfield at right tackle against New England.

Mularkey confirmed the decision after practice - Whimper took the first-team reps early in Thursday's workout.

It will be his first offensive line start since Week 3 at Indianapolis, when he subbed for an injured Bradfield.

Bradfield struggled last week against Miami defensive end Cameron Wake, giving up one sack and three pressures and committing two penalties (one declined).

Whimper's playing time the last five games had come as a third tight end, but that role could be filled by Isaiah Stanback, who was promoted from the practice squad on Tuesday.

THIRD-QUARTER WOES

The Jaguars' third-quarter woes in recent weeks have turned competitive games into routs.

They trailed Buffalo 17-10 and lost 34-18, led the Jets 3-0 and lost 17-10 and trailed Miami 10-3 and lost 24-3. …

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