NFL Wire News

Jags’ Bortles ailing, but determined to play vs. Titans

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Blake Bortles not only seems likely to start for the Jaguars on Thursday night, but he will have a rematch for the first time in his rookie year.

The Jaguars are playing host to the Tennessee Titans in a rematch of the Oct. 12 meeting between the two teams in Nashville that the Titans won, 16-14, when Josh Scobee’s bid for a game winner from 55 yards was blocked with 12 seconds left in the game.

That was only Bortles’ fourth start and he completed 32 of 46 passes for 336 yards, one touchdown and one interception in the losing effort. Tennessee is the first team Bortles has started against twice. He played a half against Indianapolis and then started the second game.

Bortles, who now has 11 starts under his belt and is 2-9, suffered a mid-foot sprain last Sunday in Baltimore. He was in a boot Monday and the Jaguars listed him as questionable.

That was some doubt Monday whether he would play. But he was out of the boot Tuesday and the Jaguars listed him as limited although they didn’t have a normal practice because they are playing Thursday night. It was more of a walkthrough.

Coach Gus Bradley said they will wait to see how he looks Wednesday and then meet with the training staff to see if they think he can go.

But Bortles was walking around without limping and he said there is no doubt he will play. He said if they try to tell him not to play, they will have more discussion.

“He did better (Tuesday),” Bradley said. “You could see him improve. I think Wednesday will be important to see how he comes back after today (Tuesday).”

If Bortles suffers a setback, veteran Chad Henne, who was benched at halftime of the third game against Indianapolis, will get the start.

Assuming Bortles starts, he will go against Charlie Whitehurst, who completed 17 of 28 passes for 233 yards in the victory.

Whitehurst lost his job when they decided to go with Zach Mettenberger. But when both Mettenberger and Jake Locker were injured, Whitehurst got the job back basically by default because he was the last man standing.

Bortles is trying to get an offense untracked that has scored just two offensive touchdowns in the last four games although they won one of them, a 25-24 triumph over the New York Giants when they scored two defensive touchdowns.

For both teams, the stats are as bad as their records. The Titans are 29th in yardage on both offense and defense. The Jaguars are 31st on offense and 28th on defense.

Both teams come into the game with 2-12 records and are two of the four 2-12 teams jockeying for position for the first pick in the draft. The other two are the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders.

The Jaguars finished 4-12 last year and can duplicate that if they win their last two games. Last year, they were 4-10 after 14 games but lost their last two.

But Bradley continues to be upbeat. The Jaguars gave up eight sacks Sunday but Bradley said of the line, “We’ve seen improvement by those guys.”

The Jaguars are favored at home by three points after being the underdogs in 42 consecutive games.

They get to show Thursday night in their only primetime game of the year that they’re really showing some improvement.

SERIES HISTORY: 40th regular-season meeting. The Titans lead the series 22-17 and the two teams have split the series for the last five years, so the Jaguars will try to make it six straight. In the first game in Nashville on Oct. 12, the Titans posted a 16-14 victory as Josh Scobee had a potential game winner blocked from 55 yards with 12 seconds left. The Jaguars turned the ball over twice and Blake Bortles was sacked six times even though he threw for 336 yards. Tennessee took a 16-7 lead early in the fourth quarter but the Jaguars scored with 37 seconds left to cut the deficit to 16-14. They then recovered an onside kick but couldn’t take advantage of it when Scobee’s kick was blocked.

NOTES: The Jaguars put running back Denard Robinson on the injured reserve list Tuesday with a right mid-foot sprain that would have kept him out six weeks if the season wasn’t nearing an end. With Robinson out, the Jaguars started Toby Gerhart against the Ravens and rookie Storm Johnson and Jordan Todman also saw some duty.


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