AFC South: Jacksonville Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Marqise Lee is out. Allen Hurns is likely out. There’s no telling if Cecil Shorts will play.

So the Jacksonville Jaguars may have to go with a second-year player, a rookie who missed most of training camp and all of the preseason, and a guy who just joined the team on Tuesday as their primary receivers in Sunday’s home opener against Indianapolis.

[+] EnlargeMarqise Lee
Mitchell Leff/Getty ImagesA hamstring injury will prevent Marqise Lee from playing Sunday against Indianapolis.
The Jaguars’ offense was already reeling from a 10-sack performance against Washington that resulted in two players getting benched and the loss of tight end Marcedes Lewis for up to two months because of a high ankle sprain, but the news Thursday that Lee won’t play because of a hamstring injury adds another level of absurdity.

It’s not that Lee is the offensive MVP. It’s just that it’s the latest in a string of setbacks and events that are giving the offense very little chance to be successful. Remember, the Jaguars have produced just 10 points, 266 yards and converted just 4 of 20 third downs over the past six quarters WITH Lee and Lewis in the lineup.

If Hurns doesn’t play because of an ankle injury and Shorts misses his third game because of hamstring tightness -- both of which are more likely than not -- the Jaguars will have to rely on rookie Allen Robinson, Mike Brown and Tavarres King as their top three receivers. If they decide to raid the practice squad, they could add second-year player Kerry Taylor and/or undrafted rookie Tony Washington. To do that, though, the Jaguars would have to cut players from the active roster to make room.

Regardless, the combined experience of the five healthy wide receivers (including those on the practice squad) who could play Sunday isn’t much: 27 games played and 62 receptions.

This is where not having Ace Sanders, who has two more games to serve in his suspension for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy, hurts the most. He caught 51 passes as a rookie in 2013.

Jaguars receivers have been beset by injuries since OTAs began in May and the team has no idea why. They’ve all been soft-tissue injuries, too: calf strains, hamstring strains (or in Shorts’ case, tightness), ankle sprains. The hamstring strains, which felled at one time or another Lee, Shorts, Robinson and Brown, are the most disconcerting because they tend to linger. It’s an injury that players are reluctant to try to return too quickly from because that often leads to further damage and a longer absence.

It’s a tough injury to play through as well because it limits explosiveness and leaping. Sudden movements, such as cutting or firing off the line of scrimmage, are risky, as well.

So Lee will sit against the Colts, and there’s a good chance Hurns will, too. As for Shorts, it’s questionable. With what’s available at receiver, rookie quarterback Blake Bortles might be thanking coach Gus Bradley’s decision not to put him on the field.

RTC: Six rookies could start

September, 18, 2014
Sep 18
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Reading the coverage of the Jacksonville Jaguars ...

The Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran writes that the Jaguars could potentially start six rookies on offense in Sunday's home opener against Indianapolis: center Luke Bowanko, right guard Brandon Linder, tight end Marcel Jensen, and receivers Marqise Lee, Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns.

O'Halloran also writes that quarterback Chad Henne knows what he has to do to quiet the calls for rookie Blake Bortles: win.

Here's an interesting read on the jet sweep, a play that seems to be taking the NFL by storm.

Safety Johnathan Cyprien talks to Jaguars.com about returning from his concussion and getting the defense back on track.

In case you missed it, here's my story on the fact that Henne's job apparently was not in jeopardy this week.

Chad Henne's job wasn't in jeopardy

September, 17, 2014
Sep 17
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Chad Henne's job was apparently never in jeopardy.

Despite hedging a bit the day after a 41-10 loss to Washington, Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said Wednesday that there were no discussions among the coaches to bench Henne for rookie Blake Bortles for Sunday's home opener against Indianapolis.

"We didn't talk about putting Blake in there instead of Chad," Bradley said. "We talk about personnel every week and we talk about all the positions – ‘How's Blake doing? How's Chad doing? How do we feel about it?' -- but it was never, ‘OK, let's do this now.'"

However, there was a feeling that a change was at least being pondered on Monday when Bradley said, in part, "… and if you're asking me right now, yeah, Chad Henne is our starter." The "right now" qualifier made that Bradley's least emphatic endorsement of Henne and it provided some wiggle room for him to announce later this week that Bortles would indeed make his long-awaited debut.

[+] EnlargeChad Henne
Patrick Smith/Getty ImagesChad Henne was sacked a Jaguars franchise record 10 times against the Redskins.
That's on hold again, and on Wednesday Bradley reaffirmed his support of Henne by saying he has played solidly in the Jaguars' first two games. Henne has completed 38 of 71 passes for 459 yards and three touchdowns with one interception.

"We really haven't talked about [starting Bortles]," Bradley said. "We just put all our focus on Chad and just said, ‘Hey, we feel good. He's the starter.' We just feel good about what he's done. I know that there's been some tough times and I know there's some things that it looks like there's been some struggling, but I think just the whole picture of it -- what he does, brings stability to the younger group. I think that given time that he can make some plays."

The offense has definitely been struggling. Since scoring 17 points in the first half of the season opener at Philadelphia, the Jaguars have scored just 10 points and Henne has been sacked 12 times, including a franchise-record 10 in last Sunday's loss to Washington. The run game hasn't worked (89 yards total through two games) and the offensive line has struggled even more than last season's unit did.

Rookie receivers Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson at one time or another have forgotten routes, run the wrong routes, broken off routes too soon, given up on routes, dropped passes, and even in one case run into each other. Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said they were responsible for two of the 10 sacks against the Redskins, with the rest of the breakdown like this: backs (one), Henne (one), OL (six).

That's why a lot of the blame for the offense's poor performance being heaped on Henne's shoulders is incorrect, Fisch said.

"I think we're just worried about making sure that we don't blame Chad for something that maybe Chad wasn't responsible for," Fisch said.

As for Henne, he admits that he needs to make faster decisions, get the ball out quicker, be more accurate, and do a better job communicating protection changes and audibles. He also didn't mention that he's throwing to three rookie receivers, won't have tight end Marcedes Lewis for the next 6-8 weeks, and is playing behind an offensive that will have two new starters (center Luke Bowanko and right tackle Sam Young) this week.

"I think at times I'm doing as much as I can," Henne said. "I'm not saying that I'm playing overly great out there. I would say I'm playing better than I have in the past and doing some really good things and audibling and getting in the right plays and making plays out there, but there's always room for improvement.

"I put more pressure on myself than anybody else as I've said before, and the biggest thing is we need to win. I understand that."

Bradley said he spoke with Henne on Tuesday to make sure Henne understood he still had the coaching staff's support.

"We just had a good discussion yesterday," Bradley said. "I wanted him to feel our strength and I wanted him to know exactly what our thoughts were."

Which are: The job is still yours.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Five Jacksonville Jaguars starters sat out Wednesday's practice and another was shut down because of injuries.

Linebacker Paul Posluszny (knee), cornerback Alan Ball (abdomen), receiver Allen Hurns (ankle), running back Toby Gerhart (foot) and defensive end Chris Clemons (illness) did not practice as the Jaguars (0-2) began preparation for Sunday's home opener against Indianapolis (0-2). Receiver Marqise Lee experienced tightness in his hamstring and was pulled from practice.

Right tackle Austin Pasztor (hand) and safety Johnathan Cyprien (concussion) returned to practice. Receiver Cecil Shorts III (hamstring) was limited.

Tight end Clay Harbor (calf) also did not practice. He hasn't practiced since suffering his injury on July 28.

Posluszny, Ball, Gerhart and Clemons are expected to play against the Colts. The situation surrounding Hurns, Lee and Shorts is uncertain and their status won't be decided until later in the week.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Marcedes Lewis wasn't around at the beginning of open locker room on Wednesday afternoon, but the two oversize crutches propped up alongside his locker were a reminder of the impact Lewis' absence will have on the Jacksonville Jaguars' offense.

The Jaguars placed Lewis on injured reserve/designated to return on Tuesday with a left high ankle sprain, meaning he can't practice with the team for six weeks. It also means the Jaguars aren't likely to get much from the position while he's out.

The Jaguars have three tight ends on the active roster, but only two are completely healthy. Mickey Shuler has appeared in eight games and has caught just two passes since he was a seventh-round draft pick by Minnesota in 2010. Marcel Jensen is a rookie who spent the offseason with the Jaguars but was waived on Aug. 31 so the Jaguars could claim Shuler off waivers from Atlanta.

Harbor
Clay Harbor has 71 catches in four seasons with Philadelphia and Jacksonville but he hasn't practiced since suffering a calf injury on July 28. He didn't practice Wednesday but he's hoping to do so on Thursday and Friday, which would leave open the possibility of playing against Indianapolis on Sunday.

"[Lewis being out] definitely makes more of a sense of urgency," Harbor said. "I was doing everything I could to get back before but now to have a tight end down, that really puts a strain on the offense and the other guys in the room, especially when a veteran leader like Marcedes goes down."

The 6-foot-3, 255-pound Harbor is a flex tight end, meaning he can line up in the slot, in the backfield, or out wide in addition to next to the offensive tackle as a traditional tight end. He caught 24 passes for 292 yards and two touchdowns for the Jaguars last season.

It's had to expect Harbor to contribute much if he does play, though, because he was injured on the third day of training camp, missed the rest of camp and the preseason, and will have had, at best, two practices under his belt by Sunday.

"It's been awhile, over seven weeks," Harbor said. "I feel like just watching film, studying, just staying up over-doing some of those things will help the transition back to playing live football. It's been awhile, but there won't be much of a learning curve when I'm ready to go. I'm just trying my best to get healthy and get back out there."

Harbor can't help the Jaguars in the running game as well as the 6-6, 272-pound Lewis, who also is tied for the team lead with eight catches. That job will fall to Shuler (6-4, 247) and Jensen (6-6, 270), but neither comes close to being similar to Lewis as a blocker.

The Jaguars don't have a lot of options until Lewis returns. They could bring in other tight ends but they would have to crash-course the offense and it's unlikely they'd be able to find anyone available that would give them anything more than what Jensen, Shuler and practice squad player Michael Egnew can add to the team.

Accountability begins for Jaguars

September, 17, 2014
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley talked Monday about fans wanting to know if people are being held accountable for what happened in team’s embarrassing 41-10 loss at Washington.

Shorts
It looks that way on Tuesday after the team cut right tackle Cameron Bradfield, who had one of the team’s worst individual performances on the field against the Redskins. According to ProFootballFocus, he was responsible for three sacks -- including two in which outside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan just flew right by with little resistance.

Bradfield, who was in the starting lineup because Austin Pasztor has been out with a broken bone in his right hand, was eventually benched for Sam Young.

That’s likely not going to be the only personnel change the Jaguars make this week in advance of Sunday’s home opener against Indianapolis. Rookie sixth-round pick Luke Bowanko could replace Jacques McClendon at center. Rookie receiver Marqise Lee hasn’t been executing at a consistently high level and might end up losing some reps, especially if Cecil Shorts returns from a hamstring injury this week. Lee won’t be benched, but rookie Allen Robinson is starting to come on (he was targeted a team-high six times last week) and could end up with more playing time.

Linebacker LaRoy Reynolds and cornerback Dwayne Gratz were benched for a bit against the Redskins, too. Gratz isn’t going to lose his spot, but it wouldn’t be unexpected if Watson got more playing time at Reynolds’ expense.

Though Bradley left a little wiggle room in his statement about Chad Henne remaining the team’s starting quarterback, it would be a huge surprise if he did make the decision to go with rookie Blake Bortles.

The Jaguars don’t have a talented or deep enough roster to make significant changes, but Bradley is following through on accountability, and Shorts said Monday that the blame for the 0-2 start should fall squarely on the players’ shoulders.

"Everything that happened [Sunday] was in our control," Shorts said. "It had nothing to do with the play-calling, nothing to do with the gameplan, nothing to do with that. It’s on the players to step up and get this thing rolling. Gus, [GM] Dave [Caldwell], [owner] Shad [Khan], they did everything they can. They’re doing everything they can. It’s on us."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- What happened last Sunday against the Washington Redskins has become all too familiar to the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Struggle to move the ball because of poor offensive line play, a lack of playmakers, and a quarterback that doesn’t scare opposing defenses. Failure to stop the run, get off the field on third down, and make big plays on defense. Players talking about getting punched in the mouth by an opponent and failing to respond.

And a loss by double digits.

That last thing has happened a lot. In fact, it has happened a ridiculous amount of times -- really, an embarrassing amount of times.

Since the beginning of the 2012 season, the Jaguars are 6-28. That's humiliating enough. But it’s even worse than that because 20 of those losses have come by 10 or more points, including the first eight games of the 2013 season.

"Just hearing it, it’s definitely something you’re not proud about," said safety Chris Prosinski, one of nine current players that have played significant roles with the team over that span. "But I know for this team, looking back to 2012 there’s so much more difference between coaches, players, schemes, what-not. ...But the best thing to do is get back out there and practice and move forward."

The Jaguars have certainly been trying to do that but without much success. In fact, things kept getting worse. The Jaguars lost eight games by double digits en route to a 2-14 finish in the 2012 season. They lost 10 in 2013 and went 4-12. This season, they gave up 34 unanswered points in the second half against Philadelphia and lost by 17 points and lost by 31 at Washington last Sunday.

The Redskins loss marked the fourth time over the past two-plus seasons that the Jaguars have lost by more than 30 points.

Here’s further documentation to show how bad things have been since the 2012 season began:
  • The Jaguars have been out-scored by 423 points in the 20 losses and have lost those games by an average margin of 21.15 points.
  • In addition to the four losses by more than 30 points, they’ve lost nine games by 20 or more points.
  • They’ve only lost three games by 14 or less.

The Redskins loss is arguably the worst loss the team has suffered since 2012. It wasn’t the largest margin -- that was a 41-3 blowout by Chicago in Week 5 of 2012 -- but the circumstances make it more troubling. The Redskins were already without Jordan Reed, one of the NFL’s top tight ends, and then lost quarterback Robert Griffin III and receiver DeSean Jackson in the first quarter.

The Jaguars had made a significant upgrade to the defensive front in free agency by signing ends Chris Clemons and Red Bryant and defensive tackle Ziggy Hood, and that was supposed to allow the defense to keep the games close into the second half and result in more chances to win games. That didn't happen against Washington.

Washington still rushed for 191 yards, piled up 32 first downs, and converted 6 of 14 third downs.

Maybe it’s time to start asking if the franchise is in better shape now than it was two years ago.

"We have some work to do but I definitely feel like this franchise is headed in the right direction," receiver Cecil Shorts said. "[GM] Dave [Caldwell], [coach] Gus [Bradley], they’re doing everything they can. It’s on us as players to take control of these reigns and get things going."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Reading the coverage of the Jacksonville Jaguars ...

The Florida Times-Union ranked the top-five most unacceptable losses in team history, and Sunday's 41-10 beatdown in Washington came in at No. 2. No. 1 is the 21-0 loss to Houston on Dec. 26, 2004.

CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco has a column called Monday Musings. Among his thoughts in the latest version: Time for quarterback Chad Henne to sit, and Redskins linebacker Ryan Kerrigan destroyed right tackle Cameron Bradfield.

WJXT TV-4 sports director Sam Kouvaris and Cole Pepper talk about the Jaguars' latest loss in their podcast.

Here is my story on coach Gus Bradley naming Henne the starting quarterback, while also leaving a little wiggle room. Key players have thrown support behind Henne.

The T-U's Ryan O'Halloran posts his observations from the Sunday loss. Among the more interesting items is the fact that the Jaguars gained only 27 yards on their first 19 offensive plays.

The T-U's Vito Stellino did a Q&A with Mickey Shuler, who is the only healthy tight end on the roster and could be the starter on Sunday after the announcement that Marcedes Lewis will miss 6-8 weeks with a left high ankle sprain.

 

The Film Don't Lie: Jaguars

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
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A weekly look at what the Jacksonville Jaguars must fix:

When relying on rookie receivers, coaches know things aren't going to always go smoothly. That's certainly the case with the Jaguars, who have used three rookies (Allen Hurns, Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson) as their primary targets in the first two games and will continue to do so in Sunday's home opener against Indianapolis.

The biggest issue with that trio has been mental mistakes. Coach Gus Bradley said Monday they combined to make double-digit mental mistakes, such as running the wrong route, playing with inconsistent effort, lining up incorrectly, quitting on a route and using poor technique to get open. All of that was evident on film during the 41-10 loss to Washington and played a significant role in the Jaguars giving up 10 sacks and scoring just one touchdown.

With the loss of tight end Marcedes Lewis (high ankle sprain) for six to eight weeks, the ongoing uncertainty of veteran receiver Cecil Shorts' hamstring and Hurns being day-to-day with an ankle injury, the pressure is on Lee and Robinson to play with consistent effort and eliminate as many mental mistakes as possible, or the passing offense will become even more inept.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley admitted he made a mistake in the season opener against the Philadelphia Eagles by not calling timeout when his defense clearly wasn't ready on a fourth-down play.

But he had no second thoughts about what happened at the end of Sunday's 41-10 loss at Washington, when rookie receiver Allen Hurns suffered an ankle injury on the team's final offensive snap. Quarterback Chad Henne threw a sideline pass to Hurns for 3 yards on fourth-and-16 and Hurns was hurt when he was tackled.

Bradley said he didn't consider just running the ball to kill the clock and end the game quickly when the Jaguars took over with 1:46 remaining.

"It didn't come up that way," Bradley said. "I think that the message to our team is we're going to compete every play. At the end of the game in that situation it was an unfortunate deal that took place, but that's our mindset."

Hurns is listed as day-to-day with an ankle sprain.

Updating the Jaguars' injuries

September, 15, 2014
Sep 15
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The loss of tight end Marcedes Lewis for six to eight weeks with a high ankle sprain was the big injury news on Monday, but the Jacksonville Jaguars are hoping to get several other key players back this week.

Here’s an update on where they stand:

S Johnathan Cyprien (concussion): He is still taking part in the NFL’s concussion protocol and will continue to be evaluated this week. The team is optimistic that he could be back on the practice field on Wednesday.

WR Cecil Shorts (hamstring): Shorts did some running on Monday and could return to the practice field on Wednesday.

RB Toby Gerhart (ankle): He is expected to practice on Wednesday.

WR Marqise Lee (hamstring): He is expected to practice on Wednesday.

WR Allen Hurns (ankle): He is listed as day to day and his status for Wednesday’s practice is uncertain.

TE Clay Harbor (calf): Harbor continues to progress and the Jaguars are optimistic he’ll be able to practice on Wednesday.

RT Austin Pasztor (hand): He will return to practice on Wednesday wearing a protective device on his right hand.
LANDOVER, Md. -- Everything set up for the Jacksonville Jaguars’ defense to have a pretty darn good Sunday against the Washington Redskins.

Jordan Reed, one of the NFL’s top young tight ends, was out with a hamstring injury.

[+] EnlargeNiles Paul
Geoff Burke/USA TODAY SportsNiles Paul was one of several Washington backups that burned Jacksonville's defense on Sunday.
Quarterback Robert Griffin III goes down with an ankle injury on the Redskins’ second possession and doesn’t return.

Receiver DeSean Jackson suffers a shoulder injury on the first play of their third possession and leaves the game.

The Jaguars couldn’t ask for any better circumstances. The Redskins were down three of their top offensive weapons, and had to rely on a backup quarterback, backup tight end, and a rookie receiver. Running back Alfred Morris and receiver Pierre Garcon were a concern, but stopping those two should have been considerably easier without the other three players.

Instead:

Washington rolls up 449 yards, including 191 rushing. Morris ran for 85 yards and two touchdowns.

Reserve tight end Niles Paul catches eight passes for 99 yards and a touchdown.

Rookie receiver Ryan Grant catches five passes for 57 yards.

Washington 41, Jacksonville 10.

"We should be able to take advantage of situations like that, especially with the major deep threat out of the game," linebacker Paul Posluszny said. "That should change things for us and we should be able to capitalize on the situation like that, and we didn’t."

Aside from the Jaguars’ offensive line giving anyone in red a free run at quarterback Chad Henne, the defense’s inability to stop anything was the most mystifying thing from Sunday’s game. It was fantastic in the first half of the season opener against Philadelphia, forcing three turnovers, sacking Eagles quarterback Nick Foles five times, and pitching a shutout.

The Eagles ripped off 34 points and 291 yards in the second half, but the general feeling inside the locker room was that the second half was an aberration. The defense was capable of playing as well as it did in the first half and there would be consistent effort and production against the Redskins.

They were right. It was consistently bad.

"To go out there last week and do what we did in the first half and then not really get into the flow this week, it’s really frustrating," defensive tackle Roy Miller said. "I don’t know what to say."

Defensive tackle Sen’Derrick Marks did. He equated Sunday’s performance with getting bullied.

"They executed and we did nothing right," Marks said. "We’ve got to look at ourselves individually, each player, to see what can we do to turn this thing around.

"It’s never good to get punched in the face, and really do nothing about it. Nothing on the field said we did anything about it. So, we’ve got to criticize ourselves -- and I mean hard. We really have to. We’ll do that. We’ll do that when we get back in the film room tomorrow."

It’s not going to be easy to watch, and it shouldn’t be. The defense has given up 740 yards and 68 points in the past six quarters.

A lot of that came against an offense hamstrung by injuries, which makes it even worse.
LANDOVER, Md. -- Observed and heard in the locker room following the Jacksonville Jaguars' 41-10 loss to the Washington Redskins:

Lewis
Baffled: There was a feeling of bewilderment in the Jaguars' locker room. The team could have handled a loss, but to get completely dominated and embarrassed was a shock because players said they felt the first half of last week's loss to Philadelphia showed they had made strides. "We felt like we had taken steps in the right direction in that first game," tight end Marcedes Lewis said. "Not leaning on that but at the same time we knew we were better than what the score showed the last game. So we were excited about coming in here and doing some good things."

Fundamentals, part I: The Jaguars missed 14 tackles in the opener against Philadelphia and things were just as bad against the Redskins. Linebacker Paul Posluszny said that if the Jaguars followed simple fundamentals then the Redskins wouldn't have run for 191 yards, including 85 by Alfred Morris. "Probably comes down to poor fundamentals," Posluszny said. "Guys leaving their feet. I know that happened to me. I left my feet to try to wrap up, you can't do that with strong NFL running backs. You have to get to his feet, wrap, tackle and keep your feet moving. If you don't do it right, you're not going to bring him down."

Fundamentals, part II: It may not have made much of a difference in the final outcome, but the Jaguars certainly could have grabbed early momentum had receiver Allen Hurns not dropped Chad Henne's deep pass. Instead, the wide-open Hurns had the pass bounce off his chest. Had he caught it, he likely would have scored. "Just trying to run without having the ball," he said. "I just moved without having it."
LANDOVER, Md. -- Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Cecil Shorts will miss his second consecutive game with tightness in his left hamstring after he was declared inactive for Sunday’s game at Washington.

This will be the 13th game the fourth-year receiver has missed with various injuries since being drafted in 2011. He’s had hamstring problems, two concussions, a shoulder sprain (which he played through) and a sports hernia during the regular season, and he missed parts of OTAs and minicamp this past spring with a calf injury.

He finished the last two seasons on injured reserve.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The first draft pick of Jacksonville Jaguars general manager David Caldwell's tenure to get cut is rookie defensive end Chris Smith.

The Jaguars waived the fifth-round pick on Saturday and signed rookie safety Craig Loston to the 53-man roster.

The Jaguars are without starting safety Johnathan Cyprien (concussion) for Sunday’s game at Washington and that left the Jaguars with just three healthy safeties on the active roster: Winston Guy, Josh Evans and Chris Prosinski. Evans will start in place of Cyprien.

Loston was among the Jaguars’ final cuts on Aug. 29 and was signed to the practice squad two days later.

Evans and Prosinski played after Cyprien left last Sunday’s game against Philadelphia with a concussion, and neither performed well. Evans missed three tackles and Prosinski bit on a play-action fake and crossing route, and that allowed Eagles receiver Jeremy Maclin to run free for a 68-yard touchdown.

Smith was inactive for the season opener.

Smith is the first of Caldwell’s 17 draft picks to get cut, but it’s likely the team will try to re-sign him next week if he clears waivers.

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