The bad news continues for the Jaguars defense and this time it’s an injury to a rookie that they have been counting on.
The NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport broke the story Thursday afternoon that rookie safety / linebacker Quincy Williams has suffered a significant knee injury and will be out at least a month and maybe longer:
Sources: #Jaguars LB Quincy Williams, the third-round pick who has been impressing in camp, is out 4-6 weeks with a slight tear in his meniscus. He’ll need arthroscopic surgery to trim it. Given the timing, he won’t miss much game time.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) August 1, 2019
The Jaguars third-round pick back in April out of FCS Murray State was being counted on with the absence of former pro bowl linebacker Telvin Smith. Smith announced in May that he would not be playing this season and would forgo his $9 million salary for reasons that are yet to be disclosed.
Williams has been taking reps with the first-team at linebacker although he played a good portion of his career at safety in college. The 5’11 225 lbs. player had 111 tackles with 9.5 for loss with two Ints, while playing hybrid linebacker for the Racers last season.
The Jaguars Williams is the older brother of Quinnen Williams, who was an All-American defensive tackle at Alabama and was drafted with a third overall pick by the New York Jets in April.
Jaguars Coach Doug Marrone appeared on his Jaguars.com/radio simulcast show Thursday afternoon and was optimistic that Williams will be ready for the opener:
Marrone on Quincy Williams' knee injury:
"Our expectation is that he'll be ready and we'll have him out there for the first game." pic.twitter.com/DOCpXHpd5U
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) August 1, 2019
Jacksonville will now turn to a couple of other reserves in Ramik Wilson and DJ Alexander to try to fill in with Williams out. Wilson was a reserve on the NFC Champion Rams a year ago tallying 35 tackles with three for loss. The former Georgia Bulldog signed as a free agent with the Jags in the offseason.
The Jaguars are also without arguably their best edge pass-rusher in Yannick Ngakoue, who is continuing his holdout for a long-term huge contract.
So, while the Jaguars still have Pro Bowl players like Calais Campbell and Jalen Ramsey, plus, rookie pass rusher Josh Allen, the issues of whom they don’t have on that side of the ball, are mounting up.
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.