Thursday, October 10, 2013
Broncos-Jaguars matchup of the day
By Jeff Legwold
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Generating offense has been a constant struggle for the Jacksonville Jaguars so far this season. They have scored a league-low five touchdowns and they don't have a player with two touchdowns to his credit.
But when good things do happen in what has been a low-impact passing game so far, wide receivers Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts have usually been a part of it. Shorts, who had three 1,400-yard seasons in his career at Mount Union, is on pace for 100 catches with 31 after five games. Shorts has already put up 148 yards against the Seahawks' secondary earlier this season and has been targeted at least 10 times in all five of the Jaguars games.
Because Blackmon, who missed time in training camp with a groin injury, was suspended for the season's first four games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy, Shorts has been the go-to guy. However, in his first game back in the lineup Sunday against the Rams, Blackmon finished with 136 yards on his five catches to go with a touchdown.
Blackmon is slightly bigger, at just more than 6-foot and 210 pounds. Shorts is slightly faster in the open field having posted 4.4s in his 40-yard dash leading up to the 2012 draft. Shorts ran in the 4.5s at the scouting combine before the 2010 draft. Overall defensive coaches say Shorts is a bit more elusive in the short area and a versatile enough player to have played quarterback a bit at Mount Union.
The Denver Broncos are on track to have their starting cornerbacks -- Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Champ Bailey -- lined up together for the first time this season. Bailey practiced fully Wednesday, the first time he has done that since injuring his left foot Aug. 17 in a preseason loss in Seattle.
Bailey's teammates said he had an interception in his first full practice, so they think he is ready to be back in the lineup. The Broncos figure to take an aggressive approach against Jaguars backup quarterback Chad Henne, so the Broncos defensive backs will have plenty opportunity to work in man coverage. The Jaguars have lined up with two wide receivers in the formation the majority of the time over their first five games so that would put the Broncos in their base 4-3 against that for the most part.