JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars can clinch a playoff spot Sunday with a win over the Texans, but they may not have starting running back Leonard Fournette on the field.
Fournette was held out of practice Thursday for the second straight day with a quadriceps injury and was officially listed as questionable on Friday's injury report.
Although Fournette said he would play through the injury, according to several reports he will in fact miss Sunday's game against the Texans.
"Whoever is up, go," said Jaguars offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. "You never know who is going to be out there. You have to be able to call and execute the games every single game."
This would be the third game that Fournette missed this season (one suspension, one injury). In his rookie season, Fournette has averaged 4.0 yards per carry and needs 77 yards to reach the 1,000 yard plateau.
If Fournette does not play, Chris Ivory and Corey Grant will shoulder the load in the running game. Ivory had his best run of the year in Sunday's win over the Seahawks when he ripped off a 34-yard run in the first half.
Cornerback Jalen Ramsey (back), left tackle Cam Robinson (back) and wide receiver Marqise Lee (foot) were all limited in practice Thursday. Wide receiver Allen Hurns (ankle) continues to be held out of practice.
The Jaguars defense has been dominant in 2017 and is on pace to accomplish something that has never been accomplished in NFL history. The Jaguars lead the league in scoring defense, sacks and takeaways. According to NFL Research, Jacksonville can become the first team since 1970 to finish a season leading in all three categories.
Defensive coordinator Todd Wash admitted that he has addressed the surrendering of big plays with the defense. Six times in the past three games, the Jaguars have given up what Wash called "explosive plays." Russell Wilson connected on two long touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to give Seattle life against the Jaguars. Wash said that he put a lot of the blame on himself, needing to not overthink things and let the defensive stars do what they need to.
Blake Bortles' development has become more apparent in the final month of the season. Bortles leads the NFL in quarterback rating in the month of December. It's the little things that Bortles has improved on that have helped him to raise the level of his game. Earlier this year, Hackett praised his ability to check into the right blocking schemes in the running game. Hackett said that on Sunday, Bortles checked from a running play to a passing play that resulted in a first down reception by Keelan Cole. "We kind of started giving him the green light. Obviously people are trying to stop the run, so OK, Blake, you have to start picking it up and he saw it and everybody got fired up and it was wide open," Hackett said.