Bears-Jaguars Personnel News

It looks to be Jeff George's time to move up the depth chart. He's been taking more reps this week, while Jonathan Quinn has been running the scout team.

Bears
-Recently acquired quarterback Jeff George could be elevated to the No. 2 spot ahead of Jonathan Quinn this week.

"I think there's a good chance we're going to allow Jeff to ascend," offensive coordinator Terry Shea said. "I don't care if it's Terry Shea ... four days of trying to learn an offense and then play football for the first time in two years, he just was not quite ready to take the field. But we're going to give him a lot more opportunity this week."

George turned 37 on Wednesday.

--Shortly after becoming the Bears' head coach, Lovie Smith expressed confidence in middle linebacker Brian Urlacher picking off at least five passes and getting five sacks in the new offense.

Urlacher already has five sacks even though he missed all of training camp and the preseason along with four regular-season games because of injuries. He got his first interception last week.

"I'm definitely excited to see what he can do in a full 16-game season and who knows how many interceptions, how many sacks (he'd get)," Smith said. "It's hard to say what he can really do and what he will do in the years to come. I just know that I've never seen an athlete like him. I've never seen a superstar like him.

"He's humble; he's a perfect teammate to the guys in the locker room. He will let you coach him. He lets (linebackers coach) Bob (Babich) coach him. Some of the superstars have (all the) answers, and they don't let you coach them. But he's definitely not that way, and it's going to be a lot of fun watching him grow to becoming one of those all-time great-type linebackers."

--ORG Steve Edwards (hamstring) did not practice for the second straight day but in the Bears' curious system of reporting injuries, he was elevated from questionable to probable.

--ORG Rex Tucker, who was benched last week because of ineffective play, was added to the injury report on Thursday (hamstring) but was listed as probable.

--OG Bryan Anderson, a first-year player who is on the practice squad, was the first-team right guard at practice Thursday, with Steve Edwards and Rex Tucker both sitting out.

--TE Desmond Clark didn't practice on Thursday for the second straight day, and he appears doubtful for Sunday despite being listed as questionable with shoulder and rib injuries.

--OT John Tait (knee, questionable) missed practice for the second straight day and seems unlikely to play on Sunday.

Jaguars
Is Fred Taylor part of the solution or he is part of the problem?

That's the question the Jaguars must face as they appear to be on the verge of not making the playoffs for the fifth consecutive year.

As the Jaguars illustrated Sunday night in a 17-16 loss to Pittsburgh, they have problems in the red zone and in short yardage situations.

The Jaguars were in the red zone five times against Pittsburgh and scored one touchdown.

And they weren't still in the red zone when they got the touchdown.

Taylor lost three yards to push them back from the 19 to the 22 and then Byron Leftwich threw a 22-yard pass to Troy Edwards, who broke a tackle inside the 10 and scored.

Counting four trips to the red zone in the loss to Minnesota, they've made nine trips to the red zone the last two weeks and have one touchdown. They're worst in the league in red zone efficiency.

And one of the problems is Taylor's running style. He's a good cutback runner who can break a big play, but he's not a pounder who can bang into the line in the short yardage situations.

On top of that, they haven't been able to get a pounder to handle that situation. At the end of the Tom Coughlin era, they had Stacey Mack for that role, but he left for Houston as a free agent and is now out of football.

They signed Chris Fuamatu-Ma'afala for that role, but he has been injury prone although he got 20 yards in six carries last Sunday. And then they drafted Greg Jones on the second round to be that short yardage guy but he's been a disappointment and didn't get a single carry Sunday night.

So they keep getting frustrated in the red zone.

In the second quarter, they had a first down on the 20 and ran Fuamatu-Ma'afala twice for six yards and Leftwich threw an incomplete pass on third down. Josh Scobee then missed a field goal attempt.

In the third quarter, they had a first down on the 4 and Taylor got two yards and Leftwich then threw two incomplete passes and Scobee kicked a field goal.

Later in the third quarter, they had a first down on the Pittsburgh 10. Taylor got two yards on first down, Leftwich was sacked for a loss of fourth and threw an 11-yard pass on 3rd-and-12 and Scobee kicked a field goal.

In the fourth quarter, they had a first down at the Pittsburgh 25. Taylor ran three times and got 7 yards. On third-and-3, he was stopped for no gain.

So in the red zone, Taylor lost three, got two yards twice and then seven yards for three carries. In six carries in the red zone, he got just 8 yards.

It's obvious Taylor isn't a short yardage runner.

Getting one to complement Taylor has to be one of their offseason goals.

--S Deon Grant (knee) missed practice for the second consecutive day Thursday. Although he's listed as questionable, he says he thinks he'll play. If he can't go, Deke Cooper will start in his place.

--G Chris Naeole (calf) is probable and returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday's practice.

--WR Jimmy Smith (hand) is probable and returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday's practice.

--DT Marcus Stroud (knee) is probable and returned to practice Thursday after sitting out Wednesday's practice. Coach Jack Del Rio said he's getting healthier after basically playing on one knee the last few weeks. He combined for seven tackles the last two games after getting eight twice in a game earlier this year.

--TE George Wrighster (back) is questionable although he practiced the last two days. But he has missed eight games so he could be inactive again.


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