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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars won’t have a defensive starter for the first time this season with linebacker Telvin Smith ruled out of Sunday’s game against Indianapolis because of a concussion.

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In addition, receiver Allen Hurns (ankle) and backup offensive lineman Josh Wells (concussion), who has started the past three games, will not play. Right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee), left guard Patrick Omameh (quad) and linebacker Lerentee McCray (hamstring) are questionable. Parnell is expected to play.

Smith suffered the injury in the first half of last Sunday’s loss at Arizona and did not practice all week. He is the Jaguars’ leading tackler (83), including a team-high 11 for loss, and has three interceptions, five pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Rookie Blair Brown will get additional playing time in Smith’s absence.

Parnell has missed the past three games after hurting his left knee against Cincinnati on Nov. 5 when the Jaguars were at the Bengals’ goal line trying to run out the clock. He hasn’t played since, and his replacement (Josh Wells) has struggled as a run-blocker because he’s not as powerful as the 6-foot-6, 326-pound Parnell.

Omameh injured a quad against the Chargers and left the game in the second half. He has missed the past two games. Backup Chris Reed has started both games.

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars’ run game still ranks first in the NFL, but the unit hasn’t been as productive over the past month.

Coach Doug Marrone is making fixing that issue a priority heading into Sunday’s game against the Seattle Seahawks at EverBank Field. The offense’s identity and success is tied to what happens on the ground, and improvement is vital for the final month of the regular season.

“We got off to a good start, and I think people have made a very conscious effort to stop us in the run game,” Marrone said. “It goes back to what I said in the beginning. When you are a good running football team, then you should always be able to run the ball when everyone knows you are running it. We are not at that level yet. We are working hard for it.”
Leonard Fournette has only 226 yards over the Jaguars’ past four games. AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton
The Jaguars were able to run the ball despite defenses stacking the box. Leonard Fournette averaged 5.9 yards per carry against eight-plus defenders in the box, and 35.4 percent of his carries came against that alignment in Weeks 1-9, per ESPN Stats & Information.

However, Fournette has averaged just 2.1 yards per carry against eight-plus defenders in the box over the past four weeks despite facing that alignment on 24.7 percent of his carries. Part of that is because of injuries to right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee) and left guard Patrick Omameh (quad). Fournette has also been dealing with an ankle injury and hasn’t had the same kind of burst as he did earlier in the season.

Even so, stopping Fournette and the run game, and putting the game on quarterback Blake Bortles, is still going to be the way defenses attack the Jaguars the rest of the season. Bortles is coming off the best game of his career, but that was against an Indianapolis Colts secondary decimated by injuries.

“It’s going to be hard for us, especially for the running game,” said Fournette, who has run for 226 yards and one touchdown on 77 carries (2.9 per carry) in the past four games. “We’re a running team first, so I don’t let it frustrate me too much because I know what I’m capable of and my O-line is capable of doing. It’s December, and it’s going to be hard to score, hard to get into the end zone.”

Fournette has run for 822 yards in 10 games and is on pace for 1,150 yards, which would be the second-highest total by a rookie in franchise history. Fred Taylor ran for 1,223 in 1998.

“As long as the team wins, I win. It’s not about me,” Fournette said. “I don’t care about getting 1,000 rushing yards. It’s frustrating sometimes, but it doesn’t matter, as long as we win.”

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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jacksonville Jaguars ended their offseason program on June 15. Here’s a look at how they fared:

Offseason goals/grade: The Jaguars entered the offseason with three things in mind: Get faster, get tougher and get better on special teams. They feel like they’ve accomplished the first with the additions of CB A.J. Bouye, RB Leonard Fournette, WR Dede Westbrook and CB Jalen Myrick. Joe DeCamillis is regarded as one of the best special-teams coaches in the NFL, so that alone should make the Jaguars better, but they also gave him solid special-teamers in LBs Lerentee McCray, Audie Cole and Josh McNary. As for getting tougher, that’s something we won’t know until training camp and the preseason, but coach Doug Marrone has been hammering the players about becoming stronger and more physical since the offseason program started in April. The offensive line sets the tone there, and Marrone called it out publicly at a season-ticket-holder forum, so it’ll be interesting to see how the unit responds. Grade: B.

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Move I liked: The Jaguars want to be a run-based offense and not have QB Blake Bortles throw the ball 37 times per game (which is his career average), and they needed a better option than Chris Ivory or T.J. Yeldon as the primary ball carrier, so they took the best running back in the draft in Fournette. The 6-foot-1, 228-pound rookie ran for 3,830 yards and 40 touchdowns in three seasons at LSU, including 1,953 yards and 22 TDs in 2015. The Tigers built their offense around him, and when he was healthy, he was certainly up to the task. He won’t have the same kind of season Ezekiel Elliott did last year as a rookie because the Jaguars’ offensive line is average at best, but Fournette was the perfect match for Marrone and new team executive vice president Tom Coughlin.

Move I didn’t like: It’s actually a move the Jaguars didn’t make that I didn’t like. They did add help at offensive tackle with Branden Albert and Cam Robinson, but GM Dave Caldwell failed to address the interior of the offensive line, which was a weak spot last season. It would have taken at least $9 million annually to lure any of the top free-agent guards (Kevin Zeitler, Ronald Leary, Larry Warford and T.J. Lang), and Caldwell didn’t want to spend that much on the position. He also didn’t want to pay guard Kelechi Osemele, nor center Alex Mack the year before. Had the team added just one interior lineman each year, the line would be significantly better and not the second-biggest question mark on the team behind quarterback. That would certainly have made things easier for Fournette in 2017.

Biggest question still to be answered in training camp: The entire season hinges on whether Bortles can make better decisions in the pocket, be more accurate with his throws and cut down on turnovers. They’re all connected, because it follows that better decisions lead to more accurate throws, which leads to fewer turnovers. Those are his biggest issues. He has committed the most turnovers in the NFL in the past three seasons (63) and has thrown more interceptions (51) in that span than anyone other than Philip Rivers (52). We’ll get a better idea of whether he’s improved in these areas when the Jaguars have joint practices with New England and Tampa Bay in training camp.

Salary-cap space: $45,325,703 (source: Overthecap.com)

2017 draft picks: 1. RB Leonard Fournette, 2. OT Cam Robinson, 3. DE Dawuane Smoot, 4. WR Dede Westbrook, 5. LB Blair Brown, 7. CB Jalen Myrick, 7. FB Marquez Williams.
Undrafted rookie free agents signed: TE Caleb Bluiett, WR Keelan Cole, C Parker Collins, RB Tim Cook, CB Jeremy Cutrer, LB P.J. Davis, DE Hunter Dimick, WR Amba Etta-Tawo, G Avery Gennesy, LB Justin Horton, DT Tueni Lupeamanu, RB I’Tavious Mathers, S Charles Miller, DE Carroll Phillips, CB Ezra Robinson, WR Kenneth Walker.

Unrestricted free agents signed: CB A.J. Bouye, DE Calais Campbell, S Barry Church, OT Earl Watford, DT Stefan Charles, TE Mychal Rivera, LB Audie Cole, LB Lerentee McCray, WR Bryan Walters, LB Josh McNary.

Restricted free agents signed: None.

Players acquired via trade: OT Branden Albert.