Jaguars’ Bortles practices despite sprained shoulder
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Blake Bortles fully participated in practice Wednesday, getting all the starter snaps three days after spraining his throwing shoulder.
Bortles felt considerably better than he did Monday and gave athletic trainers and coaches no reason to keep him on the sideline.
”It was great,” coach Gus Bradley said. ”Any time you can get practice reps, it’s always good, especially for a guy like Blake.”
The second-year starter injured his right shoulder early in a 38-31 loss at Tampa Bay on Sunday, played through it and had one of his best games. Bradley said the following day Bortles likely wouldn’t practice Wednesday.
”I think he was just taking the safe route,” Bortles said. ”I planned on practicing the whole time and I think that’s kind of the attitude you have to have. I’m going to practice until they tell me I can’t.”
Bortles has completed 57 percent of his passes this season for 1,299 yards, with 10 touchdowns, four interceptions and 14 sacks. He completed 23 of 33 passes for 303 yards, with a career-high four touchdowns and an interception. He also was sacked six times.
He injured his shoulder on a 21-yard run just before halftime. Bortles scrambled up the middle on a second-and-16 play, and cornerback Alterraun Verner hit him just past the first-down markers.
”I think it was kind of a mixture of him landing on me and landing on the ground,” Bortles said.
The Jaguars signed Jeff Tuel to the practice squad Tuesday as a precaution, but he’s unlikely to be needed when the Jaguars (1-4) host Houston (1-4) on Sunday.
”It’s part of the game, especially playing quarterback,” Bortles said. ”We’re a position (where) you don’t get hit very often. You’re not hitting every day in practice and stuff. So I think being able to most importantly be there for your teammates, make sure the offensive line sees you in the huddle every single play is definitely important.
”It’s important to me that those guys have faith that I’ll be in the huddle every play, I’ll be at practice every day working as hard as I can with those guys.”
A week after two-time Pro Bowl tight end Julius Thomas made his season and Jaguars debut, Jacksonville could have two more key pieces back on the field against the Texans.
Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks (knee) and running back Denard Robinson (knee) both practiced in full Wednesday.
Marks has been out since having knee surgery in January; Robinson missed the last three games after spraining the medial collateral ligament in his left knee against Miami.
Robinson’s potential return could be timely considering the Jaguars could be without starter T.J. Yeldon (groin) and backup Bernard Pierce (concussion) against Houston.
Marks has been itching to return since the season opener, and the Jaguars have just 11 sacks in five games.
”For me, it’s mental,” Marks said. ”I truly believe there’s nothing really wrong with my knee. It’s just all mental: `Do I have enough power and can I get it through my mind that I can push off and I can go?”’
Barring any setback, Marks, Robinson and Bortles should be full-go for the rest of the week – a welcome sign for the Jaguars, who are starting to get healthy after weeks of key injuries.
”All three I thought performed pretty well today,” Bradley said. ”We’ll wait and see how it goes.”
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL