Next up at center for the Jaguars is Jacques McClendon.
McClendon , a three-year veteran, is likely to get a chance to start at center for the Jaguars on Friday night at Detroit, but the competition for the starting job in the regular-season opener on Sept. 7 in Philadelphia still appears to be wide open.
McClendon has made all of the snaps with the first team this week.
“I just think he’s been playing pretty consistent,” said Jaguars coach Gus Bradley. “We’ve challenged him to play at another level that he’s capable of playing so we wanted to take a look at him in practice.’’
Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said Tuesday that McClendon will likely start against Detroit, although the coaching staff has to meet to decide the rotation.
Mike Brewster, who started the first two games at center, but has worked with the second team this week. Rookie Luke Bowanko returned to practice from a from an ankle injury Tuesday. He was limited to individual drills.
“Obviously, all three of these guys — really Jacques, Mike Brewster and then Bowanko, if he can go — all three of those guys we have to take a look at,’’ Bradley said.
As the Jaguars look for a center, rookie Brandon Linder has been playing right guard.
Bradley said they’re “intrigued” by Linder because he can work in both gap and zone schemes.
“I think each of those other guys have their strengths. Bowanko is just a little bit inexperienced. Jacques is really strong at the point of attack. And Mike Brewster can move pretty well. So we’ve just got to see which one has the most attributes we’re looking for,’’ he said.
For most of camp, Brewster was the starting center and McClendon was battling Linder for the right guard spot.
Brewster’s problem has been consistency. He had two bad shotgun snaps in the opener against Tampa Bay. Bradley said Brewster did well on 25 of 29 snaps against Chicago.
Fisch said he likes McClendon’s competitive edge and personality.
“He really does a nice job of bringing the group together. He has a great rapport with the quarterbacks and they enjoy talking to him and they enjoy bouncing ideas off of him in terms of game management and how we’re going to handle different fronts and pressures so all in all, he’s done a nice job.’’
Short steps for Shorts
The Jaguars are bringing wide receiver Cecil Shorts along slowly.
In his first two practices Sunday and Monday since suffering a hamstring injury on the first day of camp, he only participated in two reps per period.
On Tuesday, he got a veteran’s day off along with defensive tackle Roy Miller, tight end Marcedes Lewis and linebackers Paul Posluszny and Geno Hayes.
“As a player I want to play, but they’re being smart to make sure I’m fully healthy and I appreciate that,” Shorts said.
Preparing as if it’s September
Both the Jaguars and the Lions are spending this week preparing as if they’re playing a regular-season game.
The Jaguars have been spending several practice periods this week running Detroit plays.
“Just getting used to the service [scout] team and guys working against each other, and then more film study, obviously,’’ Bradley said. “The game plan isn’t extensive, like a regular-season game, but it’s more to keep the coaches organized with how they’re going to communicate things to the players and then also the players receive it and start looking at tape and getting in that mindset.’’
Both teams are expected to play their starters into the third quarter, although Bradley stressed that not all of the starters will go that long.
Offensive tackle Austin Pasztor underwent surgery on his broken hand Tuesday and Bradley said it “sounded like it went pretty well.’’ … CB Jamell Fleming was sidelined with an Achilles injury and is day to day. … WR Allen Robinson, who has a hamstring injury, caught some passes on the side and will make the trip to Detroit, but isn’t ready to play. … General manager Dave Caldwell and director of player development Marcus Pollard had buckets of water poured over them by linebackers J.T. Thomas and LaRoy Reynolds as part of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. Caldwell then challenged Tony Boselli and Jeff Lageman. Pollard challenged Fred Taylor. The people challenged either do it and donate $10 to ALS research or forego it and donate $100. The ALS Foundation said it has received $22.9 million in donations to combat Lou Gehrig’s disease, since July 29.
Vito Stellino: (904) 359-4279