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Titans at Jaguars Preview
Noey Kupchan, STATS Writer
12/17/2014
(AP) -- Despite a poor rookie campaign, Blake Bortles remains the quarterback of the future for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Jake Locker's run with the Tennessee Titans may have come to an end after getting hurt again last weekend.

Bortles is hoping to play through a foot injury Thursday night against the visiting Titans, who haven't tasted victory since beating the Jaguars in Week 6.

Selected No. 3 overall in this year's draft, Bortles has thrown eight touchdowns and 15 interceptions over 11 starts since replacing Chad Henne. The former UCF standout owns the NFL's second-worst passer rating at 70.6, and he's been sacked a league-high 41 times since Oct. 9.

"A lot of them are on me," Bortles said. "Some are on the offensive line. It's on the whole offense. It's football, so you better be used to getting hit.

"In college, you can run around and do more stuff, but in the NFL guys are a lot faster and stronger. So it's a little more difficult. You want to be able to get rid of the ball and live another down, not lose 5, 10 yards on third down and create longer field-goal situation. Those are definitely things I'm working on."

Bortles expects to play despite suffering a sprained right foot in last Sunday's 20-12 loss at Baltimore. He completed 21 of 37 passes for 210 yards with an interception and was sacked a season-high eight times.

"A couple more days and hopefully it will be fine," he said Monday. "Doing all kinds of stuff, trying to get back and ready as quick as possible."

Locker, meanwhile, was placed on injured reserve after dislocating his non-throwing shoulder late in the first half of last Sunday's 16-11 defeat to the New York Jets. The eighth overall pick in 2011 whose contract is up at the end of the season, Locker missed 14 of 32 starts due to a slew of injuries over the previous two seasons.

"To me, he's a true pro," coach Ken Whisenhunt said. "He's a great teammate, works hard and you obviously feel badly for Jake just from the standpoint of having to have surgery and his season being over."

With rookie Zach Mettenberger also out with a shoulder injury, the Titans will again turn to Charlie Whitehurst, who went 10 of 24 for 203 yards after replacing Locker last week. Whitehurst has an 84.9 passer rating while going 1-2 as a starter this season, with that lone victory coming 16-14 over Jacksonville on Oct. 12.

"I feel good about Charlie and what he's done. ... He started against Jacksonville the last time and played a pretty good game," Whisenhunt said of Whitehurst, who finished 17 of 28 for 233 yards against the Jaguars. "He's been a great support in the room, and we have confidence in him that when he plays he's going to be successful."

Bortles threw for a season-high 336 yards and a touchdown as Jacksonville compiled a season-high 379 total yards, but Tennessee recorded six sacks and blocked a potential game-winning 55-yard field goal with 12 seconds left.

The Titans have since been outscored by 13.8 points per game in dropping their last eight - their longest skid since the 1994 Houston Oilers lost 11 in a row. Tennessee has been limited to an average of 15.5 points while allowing 33.7 during a six-game losing streak on the road.

The ground game has been an issue for the Titans on both sides of the ball. They're allowing an NFL-worst 139.6 rushing yards per game, and they've averaged a league-low 64.8 themselves over the last 10 weeks.

Jacksonville hasn't been much better, rushing for an average of just 85.0 yards over the last five games. The two teams combined for 152 rushing yards on 47 attempts in October.

Cecil Shorts had a career-high 10 catches for 103 yards that day, his second 100-yard effort in three meetings against the Titans.

Tennessee is hoping to get wideout Kendall Wright back after a two-game absence due to a hand injury.

Tight end Delanie Walker leads the Titans with a career-high 793 receiving yards to rank fourth in the league at his position.

Tennessee, seeking a fourth win in five matchups in the series, is 11-8 all-time in Jacksonville.


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