The Jaguars have been very cautious with rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook of late, opting each of the past two weeks to keep him on injured reserve out of fear they might be asking him to come back from his core muscle injury too soon.
The time may have come, though, for the Jaguars to throw caution to the wind.
A right ankle injury he suffered in the Jaguars victory over the Chargers on Sunday is expected to keep slot receiver Allen Hurns out of the lineup for Jacksonville’s game against the Browns this week, and that could prompt the Jaguars to finally activate Westbrook.
“Yeah, I don’t anticipate him playing this week,’’ Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said on Monday. “I would say yes (in terms of him missing this week), but I wouldn’t know (about his availability) after that.’’
Hurns ranks second among Jaguars pass catchers in receptions with 36 and receiving yards with 446 and is tied for first on the team with two touchdown receptions, but he may not be the only receiver who to sit out the Browns game.
The Jaguars are already missing top wideout Allen Robinson and there’s a chance they could also be without backup and special teams ace Arrelious Benn, who was knocked out of the Chargers game with a knee injury.
The Jaguars would also have the option of turning to Jaelen Strong, but Strong hasn’t been active since he was claimed off waivers from the Texans as the beginning of the year. As for Westbrook, Marrone has made it clear the timing has to be right.
“We’re waiting for him to be ready to go at the level where we think he can get on the field and help us,” Marrone said last week. “Right now, he’s just not ready.
“We don’t want to bring him back too early if he’s not ready, and right now we have time on our side as far as when we to make that move with him. A lot of it is up to how he does (in practice).’’