As the Jaguars prepare to leave for Nashville to take on the Titans on Thursday night, they are reasonably healthy heading into the game.
Two players have already been ruled out, but they have been injured and not been able to practice for the past couple of weeks. Receiver D.J. Chark remains slowed by a quadriceps injury and will miss his third straight game. And, defensive lineman Abry Jones is also out for the Titans game with a shin injury.
The Jags are encouraged on the injury front that defensive lineman Calais Campbell, who has been slowed the last couple of weeks with an ankle injury, has been able to practice this week and is ready to go for this AFC South Showdown. Meanwhile, defensive back Jalen Ramsey, who’s been on the injury report the last three weeks with a knee problem, was again able to practice this week and we’ll be ready to take on Tennessee’s top receiver Corey Davis.
The Titans have a serious concern for linebacker Derrick Morgan with a knee injury, who has been unable to practice at all and is listed as questionable. The better news for Tennessee is that injuries to both starting defensive backs Malcolm Butler (quadriceps) and Adoree Jackson (wrist) during last week’s game with the Jets, apparently won’t keep them out. Both were able to practice including today’s walk-through and have been taken off of the injury report.
The same is also true with quarterback Marcus Mariota and his right hand injury, as he was able to fully practice Tuesday and Wednesday and is ready to face Jacksonville
Of course the biggest returnee for the Jaguars is running back Leonard Fournette, who we wrote about earlier on Wednesday is back from his one game NFL suspension for his conduct in the Bills game. Fournette was ejected in the third quarter for fighting with Buffalo is Shaq Lawson, and when he missed last Sunday, it was the eighth game that he has not played this season.
Jacksonville struggle to run the ball greatly last week in the 6 – 0 win over the coals with running backs T.J. Yeldon and Carlos Hyde only game 52 yards on the ground. So, needless to say, they are looking forward to Fournette being back in the backfield.
Jags WR Marqise Lee returns to practice
After losing veteran Alfred Blue in the first half of the 24–10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury, the Jaguars are looking for offensive depth. In some fortunate news, WR Marqise Lee is off of the PUP list and has begun practicing today, roughly one year after suffering from knee damage that sidelined him for the entire 2018 season.
Head coach Doug Marrone made the announcement before practice on Saturday.
— Dov Kleiman (@NFL_DovKleiman) August 17, 2019
First Coast news reporter Ben Murphy got a video of Lee at practice receiving a pass from QB Nick Foles.
— Ben Murphy (@BenMurphyTV) August 17, 2019
Last year, Lee was injured in the first quarter of a preseason game against the Falcons. He was hit by reserve defensive back Damontae Kazee on this play after a reception.
— Kevin Boilard (@247KevinBoilard) August 25, 2018
Lee suffered a torn ACL and went on injured reserve missing the entire season.
Lee became more prominent in Jacksonville’s pass offense in 2017 with 56 catches for 702 yards and three TDs. The Jags are surely going to rely on him this season which could mean he’ll see the field a bit in their third preseason game to get him readjusted to competitive game play.
However, they might not want to risk another potential injury before the season begins. We could see it going either way. We do know that he’ll be a great weapon for Nick Foles to utilize this season.
The return of Lee is coming off the heels of some other good news for the Jags announced earlier this week. Starting left tackle Cam Robinson was also removed from the PUP list on Monday after suffering a torn ACL in Week 2 last season. He has since made enough progress participate in some individual drills and should be ready, along with Lee, for their season opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
In other injury-related news, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Leonard Fournette, backed up by Thomas Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.
Jaguars searching for RB depth after second preseason game
With preseason game number two in the books, it’s apparent the Jaguars have real issues with running back depth due to injury. This after veteran Alfred Blue left the first half of the 24 – 10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury and did not return.
Blue carried the ball four times for just five yards has Jacksonville offense once again sputtered behind a makeshift offensive line. Coach Doug Marrone was so concerned about that line situation and their ability to protect/block that starting quarterback Nick Foles and running back Leonard Fournette never saw the field for a single play during Thursday night.
That means that veteran at Thomas Rawls (above Thursday) was called upon to carry the ball a little more, and he did so, seven times for 19 yards including a long run of 11 playing in the first half.
Rawls is a 5th year veteran who had some modest success with the Seahawks, including rushing for 830 yards his rookie year in 2015 with a 5.6 yard per carry average. His numbers tapered off in 2016 – 17 with ankle and foot injuries, as he only played in 21 games in those two years. Rawls was later released and picked up by the Bengals, but injured again last season, and never carried the ball in Cincinnati.
Obviously, the Jaguars are wanting to implement Fournette, as the primary ball carrier, but they will need someone else to spell him on a series or two. Also, Fournette has had durability questions, as he missed parts or all of eight games last year with a hamstring injury.
The Jags were also hoping to bring along Temple rookie running back Ryquell Armstead, but after he carried eight times for 22 yards last week, he suffered a concussion in the preseason opening loss to the Ravens. Armstead hasn’t practiced since, and is still being evaluated with no further update Thursday.
Speaking of updates, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Fournette, backed up by Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.