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Bortles hopes to be healthy for Thursday

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The good news for the Jacksonville Jaguars is that they play again Thursday night and they are favored at home over the Tennessee Titans.

That means they can quickly forget their 20-12 loss to the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday that dropped them to 2-12 for the season and 6-24 in two years under general manager Dave Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley.

However, they now they have a new problem. Rookie quarterback Blake Bortles sustained a right mid-foot sprain in the fourth quarter of the loss to Baltimore, and he is listed as questionable for the Tennessee game. Since the Jaguars are playing on a Thursday night, he doesn’t have as much time to heal as he would for a Sunday game.

Bortles was in a boot Monday, and if the Jaguars had practiced, he wouldn’t have been able to go.

On whether or not he starts, Bradley said, “I think it’s based on how he progresses.”

If Bortles is sidelined, backup Chad Henne would start for the first time since the third game of the season, when he was benched at halftime of the first Indianapolis game with the Colts leading 30-0.

Bortles has been struggling behind an offensive line that gave up eight sacks against the Ravens, so it may not make that much difference which quarterback starts. The offense has scored just two touchdowns in the past four games since the bye, although it won one of those games against the Giants when the defense scored two touchdowns.

In fact, the Jaguars might be better off not playing him so he doesn’t risk incurring an injury that would take a lot of his offseason time to heal. They need him to work on the basics in the offseason, such as his footwork.

Bortles sounded confident he will play.

“I plan on playing so we will see,” he said. “We have a couple of days to get ready.”

Bortles said it is important for him to play, and he said Brett Favre’s consecutive streak for a quarterback (297 games) is “one of the most important records there is.”

However, the Jaguars will have to see how quickly he heals before determining his status.

REPORT CARD VS. RAVENS

–PASSING OFFENSE: F — QB Blake Bortles completed 21 of 37 passes for 210 yards, but he could have done much better if he had received some help from his teammates. He was sacked eight times, although some were his fault because he was slow in getting rid of the ball. Veteran TE Marcedes Lewis and WR Cecil Shorts had key drops.

–RUSHING OFFENSE: D — With RB Denard Robinson sidelined, Toby Gerhart got a chance to start. Gerhart gained 54 yards on 13 carries for a 4.2-yard average, but his longest run was only 10 yards. He is not a breakaway threat. Rookie Storm Johnson added only 19 yards on six carries, most of it coming on a 17-yard run. Jordan Todman had just 7 yards on three carries. The running back committee system didn’t work.

–PASS DEFENSE: B — QB Joe Flacco was efficient while completing 20 of 30 for 221 yards. He wasn’t sacked, and he didn’t throw any interceptions. Flacco did what he had to do to win, but the Jaguars’ defense kept him from making big plays; his long gain was a 29-yarder.

–RUSH DEFENSE: A — Jacksonville held former Jaguars RB Justin Forsett to 48 yards on 16 carries, an average of just 3 yards a carry. RB Bernard Pierce averaged 6.2 yards but had only six carries for 37 yards. The Ravens never got their running game rolling.

–SPECIAL TEAMS: C — It was a mixed bag. The Jaguars pulled off an onside kick and a fake punt, and PK Josh Scobee made four of five field-goal attempts. However, Jacksonville also gave up a blocked punt that went for a touchdown.

–COACHING: B — Gus Bradley kept his team playing hard despite the win-loss record, and he was bold enough to go for a fake punt and an onside kick, and both worked to perfection. It would be interesting to see what Bradley would do with better players.


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