The Jaguars won't be taking Cleveland Browns quarterback DeShone Kizer lightly this week. While he leads the league with 12 interceptions, the rookie has impressed Jacksonville's coaching staff.
Kizer is a dual-threat quarterback who can make plays with his arm and his legs. He has produced 201 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns in eight games.
"You've always seen the athleticism out of him, how he can extend plays, move the chains with his feet," Jaguars defensive coordinator Todd Wash said Thursday.
With temperatures expected to be around 36 degrees in Cleveland Sunday, the Jaguars will need to be mindful of Kizer's mobility. In seven of his eight career games, Kizer has run the ball five or more times.
He is coming off a career-high rushing performance against the Detroit Lions in Week 10. The quarterback picked up 57 rushing yards and a touchdown on seven carries.
The Jaguars are aware of Kizer's arm strength as well. He threw for 5,805 passing yards and 47 passing touchdowns in two seasons at Notre Dame.
"He's got an extremely strong arm," Wash said. "That's the thing with his balls, he can put out any throw he needs."
Wash said Kizer's performance against the Lions was impressive. While the Browns lost, 38-24, Kizer flashed in the early going.
The Jaguars view Kizer as a threat and the defense is preparing to slow him down this week.
"He's feeling more confident with the rush, how his offensive line is blocking for him and he's completing a lot more [passes]," Wash said.
"You see him maturing each and every game and last week he played extremely well. It's good for him as an individual. We just know we're going to face a good quarterback."
The Jaguars' injury woes have become apparent with a dozen players on the team's Week 11 injury report.
Right tackle Jermey Parnell (knee), left guard Patrick Omameh (quad) and wide receivers Allen Hurns (ankle) and Arrelious Benn (knee) were held out of practice Thursday.
Parnell, Omameh and Hurns missed their second-straight practice of the week. Benn was limited Wednesday.
Wide receiver Marqise Lee (knee), running back Leonard Fournette (ankle), linebacker Blair Brown (hamstring), tight end Marcedes Lewis (knee) and defensive end Dawuane Smoot (knee) were limited participants in practice.
Lee, Smoot and Brown returned after missing the first practice of the week.
Quarterback Blake Bortles (right wrist), cornerback Jalen Ramsey (back) and linebacker Lerentee McCray (foot) were full participants in practice.
More News and Notes
- Wash on former Jaguars cornerback Briean Boddy-Calhoun, who currently plays for the Browns:
"We knew that he was very athletic. He fits in well as a nickel. He's got a lot of short-space quickness and man skills and he's got great instincts in zone. It's not a shock to us - the situation - obviously, numbers always happen in the NFL. We've always followed him because he was special to us when he was here and it's good to see that he's playing well."
- Jaguars special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis said he has never had to work with three different long snappers over the course of a season. Carson Tinker (knee) and Matt Overton (shoulder) are both injured reserve. Rookie Colin Holba was signed to take over for Overton this week.
"I wouldn't say it's plug-and-play," DeCamillis said. "That's the first time for me. I've gone through two but not three. We've had two days of practice, we've got another day tomorrow and we'll keep going and hopefully [Holba] has a good game. We'll go from there."
- The Jaguars had two field goals tipped against the Chargers. One of them went in. Luckily for the Jaguars, it was the game-winning field goal.
DeCamillis said the Jaguars are working to improve in that area of special teams this week.
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.