JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jets prepared to face Leonard Fournette.
After much was made about whether or not they had a game plan for Baker Mayfield last week in Cleveland, it’s a safe bet the Jets game-planned for all of Jacksonville’s running backs, quarterback Blake Bortles, and his backup, Cody Kessler.
Leonard Fournette missed the past two games with a hamstring injury, but the second-year running back went through practice in full on Friday.
The Jaguars listed Fournette as questionable, but he tweeted “happy to be back” and “see y’all Sunday.” Fournette later removed the tweet, but his former LSU teammate and Jets safety Jamal Adams said early in the week that he expected him to play.
“I’m guaranteeing that he will be back,” Adams declared during the same interview on WFAN Tuesday, and admitted the Jets were not prepared for the Browns' backup QB. “I’m looking forward to going against my old teammate. He’s definitely excited to get back.”
Adams called Fournette “a beast” and the “best player I’ve ever had to play against.” Fournette totaled 1,342 yards from scrimmage and 10 touchdowns as a rookie, and is looking to get untracked this season.
Fournette rushed for 41 yards on nine carries before leaving the Jaguars’ season-opening win over the Giants with the hamstring issue.
“He’s a big part of their offense,” defensive coordinator Kacy Rodgers said. “He’s a very talented runner and a good football player, but he really makes their offense go.”
The Jaguars will try to bounce back from a home loss to Tennessee when their offense couldn’t get anything going.
Backup running back T.J. Yeldon rushed for 44 yards and quarterback Bortles threw for only 155 yards and no touchdowns. Jacksonville didn’t get in the end zone in a 9-6 loss.
Bortles has been criticized for not being an elite quarterback, but he had the Jaguars in the AFC Championship last year. He also threw for four touchdowns in a Week 2 win over the Patriots in a rematch of last year’s conference title game.
The Jets prepared for the good Bortles. They have done a better-than-expected job of pressuring the quarterback. They could utilize a similar game plan against Bortles as they did last week for Tyrod Taylor when they blitzed him early and often and try to force him to make mistakes.
“They’ve expanded his role and he’s more comfortable in the offensive scheme,” Jets coach Todd Bowles said. “They can light you up in the passing game, and they can turn around and pound the ball as well.
“They can hurt you a lot of different ways. I think his command of the offense is outstanding and he knows where to go at all times. You’re not fooling him with too many things.”
Second-year safety Marcus Maye was limited in practice Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with a foot/ankle issue. He’s questionable, but he was optimistic he would make his season debut Sunday.
Adams wasn’t making any guarantees, but he was excited about the idea of having Maye back there with him again.
“It would be huge,” Adams said in the Jets locker room Wednesday. “He’s another playmaker in the back end. That’s my boy. One-two punch. We understand each other when we’re in the back end. We feed off each other as far as energy, confidence. "To have him back out there, when that time comes. it’s definitely going to be a fun time for me.”
Adams and Maye were rookies together last year and look like they can be foundation players for the Jets.
A familiar face
The Jets will face their former tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who credits them for helping him get his life back on track.
The Jets signed him in 2016 after he was cut by Tampa following a DUI arrest. Seferian-Jenkins caught 53 passes and four touchdowns in 15 games in parts of two seasons with the Jets. Bowles is happy that Seferian-Jenkins is doing well.
“That is outstanding,” Bowles said. “You're always worried about the person first and not the player. I think he's done a great job and continues to do a great job of doing everything the right way, and that helps his football element as well.
“You know about the talented guy on the field, but from what he's been through and where he came from, I can't do anything but take my hat off to him. I have tons of respect for him.”
Back in Jax
Jason Myers returns to Jacksonville almost a year to the day the Jaguars cut him after he hooked two field goals in a loss to the Rams.
Myers missed 15 field goals and 12 extra points in 38 games with the Jaguars over two-plus seasons. He was replaced by Josh Lambo, who has missed just one field goal and two extra points since Myers was cut.
But Myers has done well for the Jets. Signed late in camp after an injury to Cairo Santos, Myers is 5-for-5 on field goals and 8-for-9 on extra points. His 15 touchbacks — on 17 kickoffs — are tied for second in the NFL.
Marrone moved on
Jaguars coach Doug Marrone was a candidate for the Jets coaching vacancy in 2015, but he’s not looking back at what could have been.
He’s coaching a team that went to the AFC Championship last season. Bowles, who the Jets hired instead, hasn’t reached the playoffs in his three seasons as coach.
“It’s been a long time now,” Marrone said. “I’ve been asked this question every year we play them. I wasn’t the right person for the job. This is how things work out. I’m down here in Jacksonville and I’m happy where I’m at and I’m sure they’re happy with where they’re at.”
Inside the numbers
4: Rushing touchdowns for Isaiah Crowell, which is tied for the league lead.
1: Rushing touchdowns the Jaguars have allowed
3: Jets’ passing touchdowns
2: Passing touchdowns the Jaguars have allowed
Bilal Powell had his most productive game last year against the Jaguars. He rushed for a career-best 163 yards and had an all-time high 190 total yards in the Jets’ overtime victory. Powell is looking to build off his last two solid games. He had a 28-yard catch-and-run TD against Miami and rushed for 73 yards on 14 carries last week in Cleveland. Powell, who is sharing the running back snaps with Crowell, is averaging 6.6 yards per touch.