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Sample and Cyprien add assertiveness to a maimed Jaguars defense

As starting strong safety Jonathan Cyprien makes his return to full-speed practice, he combines with rookie free safety James Sample to create a physical presence capable of packing a punch.

Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Starting strong safety Jonathan Cyprien returned to practice in full this week for the first time since injuring his calf in the Jaguars' week one loss.

Cyprien provides an immediate boost to a Jaguars' safety group that was shipped home in pieces after a visit to Tom Brady's playground last weekend.

Safeties Sergio Brown and Josh Evans both picked up injuries in the Jaguars' blowout loss to the Patriots, leaving the team with no other option than sticking cornerback Peyton Thompson at free safety for the remainder of the game. Rookie James Sample played alongside Thompson as the strong safety.

This week, however, the Jaguars have an opportunity to field a safety combination capable of packing a legitimate punch.

The Jaguars will move Sample back to his free safety position, while Cyprien will make his return to strong safety. Combined, Sample and Cyprien have an opportunity to construct the physical safety presence that Gus Bradley has spent his entire three seasons as Jaguars head coach searching for.

Preparing to face the Colts this week, Sample spoke briefly on Wednesday about his absorbtion into a starting role.

"Everything is making sense, and I'm able to play faster now," Sample said. "I'm getting ahead on film and getting some keys on what Andrew Luck does."

Meanwhile, Gus Bradley spoke about Cyprien's significance within the Jaguars defense.

"Just what he brings to this team, his leadership, his style of play," Bradley said. "I think all those qualities right now would be a great addition to the secondary."

As Sample and Cyprien take the field side-by-side on Sunday, we might just witness the archetypal Jaguars safety group of the future. Two physical, assertive safeties with a chance to revive the Jaguars defense and add turnover potential against a wobbly Andrew Luck.

At the very least, we won't see Peyton Thompson at safety. And that has to be a step in the right direction.