Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks had hoped to be ready to play in time for Sunday's season opener as he recovers from a torn ACL suffered last December 28.
Unfortunately for Marks, he's not quite ready and the Jaguars are preparing for their Week 1 matchup with the Carolina Panthers without their top defensive lineman.
"My thing is to keep working and rely on whatever the doctors say," Marks said, per the Florida Times-Union. "I'm always going to be pressing. If it's not this week, I'll press to get back next week."
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Marks led the Jaguars with 8.5 sacks last season. The team will likely use a combination of Tyson Alualu, Jared Odrick and rookie Michael Bennett to fill in until Marks can return and is counting on the group to apply pressure on opposing quarterbacks, beginning with Cam Newton on Sunday.
"I have confidence in those guys," Marks said. "The biggest thing I'm looking forward to seeing is how we come out. It didn't seem like we got a lot done in terms of pressure in the preseason."
Alualu, Jacksonville's first-round pick in 2010, figures to fill in on first and second downs. Jaguars defensive captain Paul Posluszny said he's confident Alualu will be successful.
"Tyson is going to be the guy," Posluszny said. "He's played three technique before and played at a high level. We have a core group of guys that can hold down that spot."
The 28-year-old Alualu, who played defensive end the past two seasons, has 13 career sacks. He said he's been preparing for the chance to fill in for Marks since the start of training camp last month.
"I've always played a little bit of both just to give Sen'Derrick a break," Alualu said. "The more I play it, the more comfortable I'll be. I'm trying to make the most of this chance. We've got to be disciplined in the run game. I have to understand what my gap is, whether I'm at three-tech or at end."
Head coach Gus Bradley said he, too, has faith in Alualu.
"Tyson has the trust of everybody around him," Bradley said. "That's something that we don't take lightly."
(h/t Florida Times-Union)