With the Jacksonville Jaguars (4-4) set to clash with the Houston Texans (5-3) in an AFC South divisional game that potentially holds the key to the division race, the Jaguars hope to be close to full strength at kickoff.
Four players were announced on the team's Friday game status report, with wide receiver Dede Westbrook (neck/shoulder) and cornerback D.J. Hayden (neck/shoulder) listed as questionable. Meanwhile, weakside linebacker Quincy Williams and strongside linebacker Leon Jacobs were both ruled out with hamstring injuries.
Westbrook has been fighting through a nagging shoulder injury the last several weeks and this marks the third consecutive game that he enters as questionable. He was able to play through Week 7 with the injury and while he started in Week 8, he eventually left the game with a shoulder injury.
Westbrook's toughness and willingness to play through his injury has garnered him respect inside the locker room and amongst the coaching staff, as well.
"Incredibly tough, incredibly tough. He plays a lot bigger than his size, and just unbelievably tremendous toughness," offensive coordinator John DeFilippo said Thursday.
As for Hayden, he also left Week 8's game vs. the New York Jets with injury. He has been a vital component of Jacksonville's defense this season, playing 73% of the defensive snaps and providing stability and physicality to the slot corner position. If he can't play Sunday, Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash said the team has a few other options.
“We have two other guys that have played nickel. Tre [Herndon] has played nickel, [Breon Borders] has played some nickel," Wash said Thursday. "Tae Hayes, we just got him off the practice squad, so we have three different guys that we can play if D.J. [Hayden] does not go. D.J. is getting better and better each day, so we will see what it is game time with where D.J. is at.”
Weakside linebacker Najee Goode missed last week's game with a toe injury but Wash said Thursday that he would be back in the starting lineup, and him not showing up on the game status report indicates that is the case.
Undrafted rookie linebacker Joe Giles-Harris will take Jacobs' spot in the defense for a second consecutive week.
As for players who appeared on the injury report throughout the week but seem to be a full go to play, guard Andrew Norwell (calf) and kicker Josh Lambo (groin) were each left off of the game status report, indicating they are cleared for Sunday.