The Jaguars’ offensive line has struggled without injured starters Patrick Omameh and Jermey Parnell, but both are expected to return to practice on Wednesday, according to Coach Doug Marrone.
Parnell, who plays right tackle, has missed three consecutive games with a knee injury. Omameh, who plays left guard, has missed 2 1/2 games with a quad muscle injury.
The Jaguars were held to a season-low 91 yards rushing and Blake Bortles was sacked three times during their 27-24 loss at Arizona on Sunday.
Marrone said wide receiver Allen Hurns is making progress from an ankle injury that forced him to miss the past two games.
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Four Jaguars named to Pro Bowl
”He’s getting ready, so we’ll see where he is,” Marrone said.
Linebacker Telvin Smith’s status for this week is uncertain because he’s under the NFL’s concussion protocol. He sustained a concussion during Sunday’s game.
Brown makes impression
With Smith out for the second half, rookie Blair Brown earned his first significant action at weak-side linebacker since Week 3 against the Baltimore Ravens in London.
Brown, a fifth-round pick, was on the field for 10 defensive snaps, which matched his season high against the Ravens. He made three tackles, one assisted on Sunday.
“When my number is called, I just have to go out there,’’ Brown said. “At first it (NFL game) was a lot faster than what I’ve experienced in college. But now that I’ve played in a couple of games, I think I’ve transitioned pretty well. I’m always on ready.’’
“He has gotten so much better as the season as gone along,” said defensive captain/middle linebacker Paul Posluszny. “It’s so hard for a rookie and sometimes we forget that, but you’ve seen him get consistently get better each week.”
Most of Brown’s game action has been on special teams. But Marrone said he liked what he saw from Brown at linebacker against the Cardinals.
“He went in there and he was ready to go,” Marrone said. “You’ve got to be ready to go when you get in there and losing someone like obviously Telvin hurts.”
Ngakoue nominated for award
The Jaguars nominated defensive end Yannick Ngakoue for the AFC Player of the Month for November. Ngakoue had 3.5 sacks, including three sack-fumbles, during the month. Two sack-fumbles were recovered for touchdowns and his three forced fumbles were the most in the league.
Ngakoue sacked Cardinals quarterback Blaine Gabbert and forced a fumble early in the fourth quarter that was recovered by Calais Campbell and returned 10 yards for a touchdown that put the Jaguars 17-16 before Arizona rallied.
“On the back end, all the guys (Jaguars defensive backs) covered everybody great,” said Ngakoue, who had the Jaguars’ only sack of the game. “The quarterback was forced to hold the ball and I just made a play for my team.”
It is the first time in franchise history the Jaguars have two players with 10 or more sacks through the first 11 games of a season. Campbell leads with 11.5 and Ngakoue has 10. Campbell and Ngakoue are the first duo with 10 or more sacks through their team’s first 11 games since the 2014 Buffalo Bills when Marcell Dareus, now with the Jaguars, had 10 sacks and Mario Williams had 12.
In playoff mix
If the AFC playoffs began today, the Jaguars (7-4) would be the fifth seed and face the fourth-seeded Kansas City Chiefs (6-5) in a wild-card game.
With five games left in the regular season, the Jaguars are tied with Tennessee for the AFC South lead. The Jaguars lost sole possession of first place on Sunday when they lost and Titans beat the Colts.
Starting Sunday against the Colts, the Jaguars play their next three games at EverBank Field. They close out the regular season at Tennessee on the road Dec. 31.
“This is definitely crunch time,’’ Campbell said. “December is championship football. We have to learn it is not going to be easy. We wouldn’t want it if it was easy.’’
The Jaguars re-signed offensive lineman Brandon Thomas to the practice squad after releasing him last week. To make room, the Jaguars released kicker Mike Meyer, who was brought in last week as insurance in case Josh Lambo had been unable to overcome a hip injury. Lambo played against the Cardinals and kicked a 43-yard field goal.