Connect with us

Jacksonville Jaguars

2018 Jaguars Training Camp: Three Players With The Most To Prove

Zach Goodall

Published

on

Dec 24, 2017; Santa Clara, CA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook (12) catches the ball against San Francisco 49ers strong safety Eric Reid (35) during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Training camp is just around the corner, and the Jacksonville Jaguars head into camp with one of the strongest rosters in the NFL.

However, every roster has it’s question marks. Will player X make a jump in production this year? Does player Y fit better at another position? Can player Z unseat a player ahead of him for a roster spot?

The Jaguars are no different, as several players have much to prove with the 2018 season on our doorstep. With that being said, who has the most to prove during the 2018 training camp period, and why?

WR Dede Westbrook

Jun 14, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Dede Westbrook (12) walks to the field during mini camp at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The second year receiver will undoubtebly have a role in the Jaguars’ offense, as well as special teams, this year. The question is, how big will said role(s) be?

Westbrook flashed during his rookie season as a possession receiver moreso than the deep-threat fans expected him to be after he was selected in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He finished the year with 27 receptions for 339 yards (12.6 yards per catch) and a touchdown in the final seven games of the season, after missing the first nine with a core muscle injury.

His game changing speed and potential as both a receiver and a special teamer will keep Westbrook around for a while, but after a big shakeup in the Jaguars’ wide receiver room this year, it’s unclear how much playing time Westbrook will receive. Out with Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, in with Donte Moncrief and D.J. Chark: No one is quite sure how the depth chart will look heading into week one.

Keelan Cole, who finished his rookie season (as an undrafted free agent, mind you) with 42 catches for 748 yards (17.8 YPC) and three touchdowns, will likely be the team’s No. 1 deep threat, and if he can continue to progress as a route runner, he can unseat Marqise Lee as the team’s first receiver. While few would ever consider Lee to be a No. 1 talent, he has four years of chemistry with quarterback Blake Bortles and signed a four year, $34 million extension with the team in March. He best serves in the underneath passing game, but he will be on the field for the majority of the team’s offensive snaps.

Chark will likely easy into the offense, as he is unpolished as a route runner and has some technical issues to clean up, but his 4.34 speed at 6-3, 200 lbs presents a freaky matchup nightmare if he is developed well. The Jaguars signed Moncrief to a one year, “prove-it” contract worth $9.6 million, and he will be a factor in the redzone passing game and as a 50-50 ball-type of receiver.

Westbrook has a ton of talent and potential to thrive in Jacksonville’s offense. However, since the Jaguars’  receiver corps is filled with different styles of receivers, Westbrook will need to establish himself in his own way during training camp in order to receive the amount of snaps that fans are hoping he will get this year.

DT Abry Jones

Nov 12, 2017; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Abry Jones (95) runs down field followed by Los Angeles Chargers offensive tackle Russell Okung (76) during the second half at EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps I’m not giving Abry Jones enough credit for the job he’s done during his five years in Jacksonville, considering the team gave him a four year, $15.5 million extension just last year. But, like Westbrook, there’s a lot of talent in Jones’ position group that could affect Jones’ playing time.

While Jones was a contributor in the team’s pass rush from the nose tackle position, he wasn’t the strongest run defender. The Jaguars’ addressed this midseason in trading a fifth round pick to the Buffalo Bills for defensive tackle Marcell Dareus, who eventually split time with Jones at nose tackle as well as moved around to the 3-tech defensive tackle position.

Dareus is still with the team, and should see a bigger role with the team after a full offseason in Jacksonville. Considering how much he helped the team’s run defense and his Pro Bowl résumé, fans have started to forget about Abry Jones. He will likely enter the 2018 season as a backup and in a rotational role, unlike how he began 2017 as a starter.

However, perhaps this will light a fire under the homegrown, former undrafted free agent. The Jaguars defensive line is far from thin, with Calais Campbell receiving snaps inside as well. 2018 first round draft pick Taven Bryan is mainly receiving reps at defensive end, but he played defnesive tackle at the University of Florida, and could see some playing time inside early on for the Jaguars as well.

With competition all around him, Jones has a lot to prove as a run defender and needs to continue to generate pressure in the pass rush in order to maintain a big tole in the Jaguars’ defense this year and for years to come.

RG A.J. Cann

Jun 14, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) takes a snap as offensive guard A.J. Cann (60) watches during mini camp at the Dream Finders Homes Practice Facility. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

Fans have been calling for competition and/or a replacement for Cann at right guard since his down-2016 season, and after the team signed LG Andrew Norwell to a five year, $66.5 million deal in free agency this year, Cann has undoubtebly become the weak link along the Jaguars’ offensive line.

Cann performed a little better in 2017 compared to 2016, but he is still inconsistent as a run blocker and has seemed out of position at right guard compared to his four years as the South Carolina Gamecocks’ starting left guard, where he was a second team All-American and first team All-SEC in 2014.

Unlike last year, however, it seems like Cann has some true com[petition during the offseason program heading into the 2018 season. Josh Walker received first team reps in OTAs and mini-camp in Cann’s absence due to an undisclosed injury, and could very well challenge Cann for his starting gig in training camp. Fourth round draft pick Will Richardson and interior lineman Tyler Shatley could be involved in the camp battle as well.

Assuming Cann recovers from his injury before camp kicks off, he needs to give it all he’s got before the regular season comes along. His job is likely the least safe across the entire roster. If ever there was a time for him to live up to the hype that got him selected by the Jaguars in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft, that time is now.

Zach Goodall covers the Jacksonville Jaguars on the Locked On Jaguars Podcast and on BigCatCountry.com. Follow him on Twitter @zach_goodall.

Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars vs. Patriots Week Two Inactives: Fournette Out, Campbell Starts

Demetrius Harvey

Published

on

Aug 18, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars defensive tackle Calais Campbell (93) reacts during the game against the Minnesota Vikings at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the New England Patriots have released their inactive lists for the game today.  For the Jaguars star running back, Leonard Fournette is out today with a hamstring injury. However, Calais Campbell who was added late to the injury report with a knee injury is expected to start today.

There was speculation before the game that Campbell could be out. It is possible the Jaguars limit his snaps this week.

Jaguars running back TJ Yeldon will start ahead of Fournette. Corey Grant will also look to get in on the fun after only having one touch last week against the Giants.

JAGUARS INACTIVE REPORT

One surprise on the Jaguars inactive list is rookie linebacker, Leon Jacobs. Although he was injured this week with the ankle injury, he was thought to have been progressing. Look for linebacker Larentee McCray to take his place at SAM linebacker.

 

PATRIOTS INACTIVE REPORT

 

For the Patriots they are without their starting right tackle in Marcus Cannon. They also get back their starting running back in Rex Burkhead as well as their first-round pick, rookie running back Sony Michel.

 

Continue Reading

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars Promote Running Back Brandon Wilds, Release WR Rashad Greene

Demetrius Harvey

Published

on

Aug 30, 2018; Tampa, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back runs the ball Brandon Wilds (38) in the first quarter against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jonathan Dyer-USA TODAY Sports

According to Mark Long of the Associated Press, the Jacksonville Jaguars today have promoted Running Back Brandon Wilds from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. As a corresponding move, the Jaguars have released veteran Wide Receiver Rashad Greene Sr.

This move should not come as too much of a surprise as starting running back Leonard Fournette has been nursing an injured hamstring all week, and TJ Yeldon was added to the injury report yesterday with an ankle injury.

The move might indicate that either Fournette will not be playing in tomorrows matchup against the New England Patriots, or Wilds will simply be insurance in case the star running back goes down again. Either way, it is something to keep an eye on as the Jaguars announce their inactive report around 90 minutes prior to kickoff tomorrow.

Continue Reading

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars vs. Patriots: Friday Injury Reports, Fournette Questionable

Demetrius Harvey

Published

on

Aug 9, 2018; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette (27) takes a handoff from quarterback Blake Bortles (5) during the first quarter against the New Orleans Saints at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Reinhold Matay-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars and the New England Patriots have officially released their Friday game status injury reports ahead of their week two matchup in Jacksonville, Florida. For the Jaguars coming into this game against the Patriots, all eyes have been on star running back Leonard Fournette as he nurses a hamstring injury. Today, the Jaguars officially listed him as questionable. Fournette has not been able to practice the entire week and will have to prove to the Jaguars training staff as well as the coaching staff he is good to go.

If Fournette is not cleared look for TJ Yeldon to take over as the Jaguars starting running back this weekend. It is also likely the Jaguars would elevate running back Brandon Wilds from the practice squad as they currently only have two running backs besides Fournette on the 53-man roster. Corey Grant would also more than likely receive his bulk of the carries in the event Fournette cannot go.

As for the rest of the Jaguars players, the only player who was a late addition to the Jaguars injury report was running back TJ Yeldon. He, however, will play this Sunday as that injury has seemingly been deemed minor.

Below are the Jaguars and Patriots official gameday statuses:

JAGUARS:

 

PATRIOTS:

QUESTIONABLE
RB Rex Burkhead – Concussion (Limited participant)
T Marcus Cannon – Calf (Limited participant)
DB Keion Crossen – Hamstring (Limited participant)
RB Sony Michel – Knee (Limited participant)

For the Patriots their most notable players on the injury report are running backs Burkhead and Michel along with tackle Marcus Cannon. Burkhead being out this week against the Jaguars for the Patriots is notable due to the lack of weapons at the running back position. If Burkhead and Michel cannot go the Patriots will likely lean on running back James White for the bulk of the carries. I would, however, anticipate at least one of the two running backs to be active this Sunday.

If Marcus Cannon is out this week, then the Patriots will turn to LaAdrian Waddle at the right tackle position. Waddle is a journeyman and more than likely would struggle against the Jaguars front four.

For the Jaguars as well as the Patriots both teams are relatively healthy. The areas to watch will continue to be the running back positions and how the Jaguars, as well as the Patriots, handle the situation. With Fournette as a true game-time decision, keep a close eye on the Jaguars inactive report 90 minutes before kickoff this Sunday.

 

Continue Reading

Trending