Former Jaguars tight end could be a problem for Jacksonville in Week 6

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jaguars will see a familiar face Sunday in Chicago. 

Bears tight end Zach Miller spent three seasons in Jacksonville, grinding for playing time at the bottom of the roster and battling injuries. 

Selected in the sixth round of the 2009 NFL Draft, Miller spent the majority of his tenure backing up Jaguars veteran tight end Marcedes Lewis.

"That's my guy first of all," Lewis said. "We talk every two days. When he was here, we were like Batman and Robin, the way they were using us. [He is] athletic, soft hands, good instincts, can run after the catch."

Miller was waived off injured reserve in 2012, months before general manager Dave Caldwell and head coach Gus Bradley took control of the organization. 

He faded into obscurity shortly after his release from the Jaguars, spending time with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers before resurfacing in Chicago in 2014. His first season in Chicago ended before it even got started, as he injured his foot in the preseason.

However, Miller came back strong last season and started 14 games for the Bears. Miller has become the featured tight end in offensive coordinator Dowell Loggins' unit. In 20 games (18 starts) over the last two seasons, Miller has produced 668 receiving yards and eight touchdowns.

Miller could add to that total in Week 6 against the Jaguars. It'll be a challenge, as Jacksonville's defense has only allowed 99 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown to starting tight ends this season.

However, Miller is likely the fastest tight end the Jaguars have faced all season.

Perhaps, rookie linebacker Myles Jack - known for his coverage at UCLA - would be the perfect defender to cover Miller.

Even with his prowess in coverage, Jack still knows taking on Miller will be a challenge.

"He sets up his routes really good, that's the thing about him," Jack said. 

"He's so deceptive with his speed and what he's going to do. Then he uses his body and he's a sure catcher, if he gets it in his mitts he's going to catch it. Looking at a guy like that, you have to be patient with him and play his hands, don't go for his gimmicks, keep my eyes on him but that's going to be a very good challenge."  

Due to his range, the Jaguars coaching staff knows putting one linebacker on Miller may be asking too much.

“It is going to be a definite group effort," defensive coordinator Todd Wash.

"We are a man, we are a zone, we are a pressure team. Everyone is going to take their turns covering him and he will be in some zone areas and we have to ball-out break. He is a guy that you have to account for every snap.”

The emphasis on Miller will be slowing him down, especially in the red zone. Bears quarterback Brian Hoyer has been extremely accurate since taking over for Jay Cutler (right thumb), so allowing Miller to break free would be a recipe to for disaster.

“Miller’s more of a speed-type tight end so it’s a match up concern as far as that," Bradley said. "Just has the ability, good knack to get open, uses his body well.”

On Sunday, the Jaguars will have find a way to limit Miller's speed or pay the consequences.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.


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