Jaguars Game Snapshot
PREDICTION: Jaguars 24-20
KEYS TO THE GAME: With teams sitting on RB Chris Johnson, the Titans finally used the pass to help set up the run last week. And the easiest way to beat Jacksonville is to attack its 29th-ranked pass defense. If QB Vince Young can complete a few early pass downfield, it sets the table for Johnson to be patient and seek his route through the front seven. The Jaguars have a similar run-first philosophy, but are too often upended by QB David Garrard's uneven play and will be wary of Tennessee's stout pass rush. Expect rookie RB Deji Karim to remain significantly involved to help keep Maurice Jones-Drew fresh late into the game.
FAST FACTS: Johnson averaged 7.8 yards per carry in two meetings last season. ... Garrard has an 8-to-1 touchdown-interception ratio in Jacksonville's three wins and a 1-5 ratio in the team's two losses.
INSIDE THE CAMPS
It wasn't a big deal, but it was an unusual sight -- Chris Johnson not in uniform for a Tennessee Titans practice.
Johnson, the center of the Titans' offensive universe, was given Thursday off with what was officially listed as a sore thigh. But the running back played the day off as more or less a rest day, tacked on to two days off as the Titans got an extra day thanks to playing on Monday night this week in Jacksonville.
"It's like a three-day weekend, but I'm still running and doing things," Johnson said. "It's not like I'm just out there watching practice. I was actually in the training room running on the treadmill and keeping my wind up and things like that."
Titans coach Jeff Fisher termed Johnson's day off as being because of slight soreness.
"He was just a little sore, so we rested him," Fisher said.
Johnson never mentioned anything about being sore when he addressed reporters in the locker room, but said he would take the day off.
"Coach Fisher told me to sit out today and just go in the weight room and things like that. It was all the head coach's decision," Johnson said. "It's always good to have a break. Just playing Sunday after Sunday, sometimes you come in not feeling up to par. So anytime coach gives you a day off, that's always a good thing."
Sunday's game is being billed as a duel between the Jaguars' Maurice Jones-Drew and the Titans' Chris Johnson.
But Jones-Drew doesn't see it that way.
"If I was on defense, I'd consider it me versus Chris Johnson," Jones-Drew said. "I see it as our offense trying to do what we can against their defense, which has 22 sacks, and our defense trying to stop their explosive offense. That's what it comes down to.
"I know there are a lot of individual battles and a lot of people want to get into that, which is OK. I would love to do better than him, but that's not going to help us win."
Actually, it may be a factor. The last six Titans-Jaguars games have been won by the team with the most rushing yardage.
And running backs coach Ernest Byner, who coached Johnson last year in Tennessee, said the two players are very aware of what they do against each other.
"I may keep a running tally," Byner said.
Jones-Drew said, "Coach Byner is just stirring up the pot. If that happens, it happens, but for me it's more important to get a victory at the end of the day. The main stat you want is winning. If I outrush him and we lose, what is the point?"
In their most recent meeting, Nov. 1, 2009, the teams combined for 522 rushing yards and an NFL-record four rushing touchdowns of 50-plus yards. The Titans rushed for 305 yards, the most the Jaguars have ever given up.
Johnson rushed 24 times for 228 yards and had touchdown runs of 52 and 89 yards.
Jones-Drew rushed only eight times but had 177 yards, including touchdown runs of 80 and 79 yards.
--DT Sen'Derrick Marks returned to the practice field for the first time since suffering a sprained MCL in his right knee against Denver. Marks said his work on scout team will give him an indication of how his leg is progressing.
--OG Leroy Harris was back on the practice field on Thursday for the first time since suffering a right ankle injury against the Denver Broncos. He sat out last Sunday's win over Dallas.
--CB Jason McCourty returned to the practice field for the first time since breaking his right forearm against the New York Giants. McCourty could still miss another week. He was wearing a portable protective cast on the injury that required surgery.
--WR Justin Gage remains sidelined with a left hamstring injury. Gage suffered the injury against the Denver Broncos and did not play last week.
--WR Damian Williams was not at practice because of an illness on Thursday. Williams had the first two receptions of his career Sunday in Dallas before exiting after being hit in the back.
--LB Colin Allred was placed on injured reserve Wednesday. He had been bothered in preseason by a neck injury and hurt his hamstring in Sunday's game. The neck injury may require surgery.
--RB Maurice Jones-Drew sat out Thursday's practice with a wrist injury but he insists there is no structural damage. He says it is not a serious injury.
--S Sean Considine sat out Thursday's practice with a hamstring injury. He has missed the last two games and has been replaced by Gerald Alexander.
--OG Justin Smiley missed Thursday's practice with a foot injury. He came out after six plays last week and was replaced by Vince Manuwai.
--LB Jacob Cutrera, a backup, missed practice Thursday with a hamstring injury.
--LB Justin Durant (ankle) was limited in practice Thursday with an ankle injury. He has missed the past three games.
--RB Rashad Jennings, who sat out last week's game, was limited in practice Thursday due to a shoulder injury.
--DE Aaron Kampman was limited in practice Thursday with an ankle injury, but he is expected to play.
--RB Brock Bolen was limited in practice Thursday with a groin injury.
--CB Derek Cox was limited in practice Thursday with a hamstring injury, but he is expected to return to the starting lineup.
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