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Jaguars scramble for LBs after Paul Posluszny injury

By The Sports Xchange
Jaguars scramble for LBs after Paul Posluszny injury
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady (12) gives a hug to Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny. Photo by Matthew Healey/ UPI | License Photo

JACKSONVILLE -- The broken right hand suffered by middle linebacker Paul Posluszny in Tennessee Sunday left the Jacksonville Jaguars scrambling for linebackers Monday.

Combined with the groin injury that has sidelined Dan Skuta the last two games, the Jaguars were left thin at the position so they brought in four linebackers for tryouts and signed two of them - one to the active roster and one to the practice squad.

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They signed third-year linebacker Joplo Bartu, who was cut by the Falcons on Nov. 26, to the active roster and third-year linebacker Sean Porter, who was cut by the Bengals on Nov. 30, to the practice squad. They also put running back Bernard Pierce on the injured reserve list with a calf injury.

Meanwhile, they prepared to hand Jordan Tripp his first NFL start at middle linebacker if Posluszny can't play.

Tripp said he always prepares as if he's going to play.

"When that time comes, you have to be ready," he said.

That time is likely to come Sunday against Indianapolis because head coach Gus Bradley said Tripp will start in place of Posluszny if he can't go because of the broken right hand he suffered with 3:44 left in the Tennessee game when he tackled Marcus Mariota.

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Posluszny was in the linebackers meeting room Monday, but wasn't in the locker room during media time.

Bradley said Posluszny met with the medical staff Monday and they are deciding whether he will undergo surgery. They haven't yet ruled him out for the final four games. He went on injured reserve with a torn pectoral muscle last year and missed the last nine games.

On whether Posluszny could play with a cast, Bradley said, "I don't know. It depends on what kind of cast. Is it a club? I think right away you look at the tackling part of it, getting off blocks."

Tripp, who played in 20 games the last two years with Miami and the Jaguars without starting, was inserted at halftime of the Tennessee game at the strong-side Otto position after they decided to bench rookie Thurston Armbrister, who was playing in place of Skuta.

After Posluszny went down, their four healthy linebackers were Smith, Tripp, Armbrister and Hayes Pullard, who played only on special teams.

Tripp would play at the Otto spot if Posluszny could play and Skuta remained sidelined.

The other two linebackers they brought in for tryouts were Mike Mohamed, who was cut by the Saints on Nov. 10 and spent time on the Jaguars practice squad in 2012, and Jo-Lonn Dunbar, who was cut by the Saints on Nov. 23.

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They also brought in running back Daryl Richardson, who was cut from Houston's practice squad on Oct. 20, but didn't sign him.

--The Jaguars were playing without their second best receiver, Allen Hurns, who is in the concussion protocol, but they didn't miss him because Allen Robinson caught 10 passes for 153 yards while becoming the first Jaguars receiver since Jimmy Smith in 2005 to go over the 1,000-yard mark in receiving yards.

The Jaguars wasted the effort because they gave up 42 points and lost, but Blake Bortles to Allen Robinson is likely to be a combination that will be the key to their offense for years.

"He's an unbelievable athlete, so talented, such a great competitor," middle linebacker Paul Posluszny said of Robinson.

"He's by far the best (receiver) I've ever played with," Bortles said. "He's unbelieveable."

"I think he's Pro Bowl material," defensive tackle Roy Miller said.

"I just appreciate the guys continuing to call my number and give me a chance to make so many plays," Robinson said.

They are likely to be calling his number for years to come.

--The Jaguars went into the game 30th in touchdown percentage, getting just 15 touchdowns in 36 trips to the end zone. But they are now at 50 percent - 21 of 42 -- after scoring touchdowns in all six trips to the red zone Sunday.

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"We have very high expectations for ourselves," guard Zane Beadles said. "We always think we're going to score touchdowns. The mindset didn't change. The execution was better."

--The Jaguars got 136 yards of offense from running back T.J. Yeldon, who ran 15 times for 57 yards and 79 yards of receiving with four catches. Yeldon went 67 yards with a short pass in the fourth quarter to set up the Jaguars' final touchdown. He also scored his first red-zone touchdown on a one-yard run in the second quarter.

The Jaguars hope to get Yeldon more involved in the offense in the final four games.

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