The Jaguars are set to face the Houston Texans on the road this weekend while Hurricane Irma makes its way towards the First Coast.
Wide receiver Allen Hurns, a Miami native, knows a thing or two about hurricanes. Growing up in South Florida, Hurns became well-versed in tropical storms.
Hurns also knows what it's like to live through a hurricane. The fourth-year player still has several family members in Miami and he is concerned about their well-being.
"It's always tough," Hurns said. "Unfortunate situations for a lot of people who are going through this. We're not going to be there but you've got to think about people's families. There are some people that can't get up and go away to other places. They've got to sit there and hope for the best."
Hurns has used his preparation for the game in Houston as a distraction. EverBank Field has served as an escape from the reality of a major storm inching closer to Florida.
However, Hurns hasn't been able to completely escape the concern that comes with Hurricane Irma's projected track.
"I think you have times where you tune it out, especially when you're in the building," Hurns said. "You've got guys who you're having good times with or you're focusing on what you need to do as far as technique-wise. When you get home and see certain things, that's the tough part about it, wishing you could help out in situations like that. You can't escape the real world or what we're going through now, so it's very tough."
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said the team would have a plan to help players, coaches and their families prepare for the severe weather. The Jaguars are set to leave for Houston Saturday afternoon.
Bennett being used in new spots
The Jaguars' first unofficial depth chart of the regular season created a bit of roster controversy on Monday.
Several players had unusual spots on the depth chart. One of those players was Michael Bennett, who was listed as the backup strong side defensive end.
Bennett has never really played the position, but he feels like he could play wherever the Jaguars need him.
"One of the reasons why I'm here and some of the other guys are here is because we are versatile," Bennett said. "In this league, Unless you're a specialist edge rusher, you can't really just specialize in one thing."
Bennett has some role models in the locker room when it comes to versatility. One in particular sticks out to Bennett.
"You see [Abry Jones] got the big deal," Bennett said. "[He] had been playing all across the line his whole career, so the more you can do, the better."
The third-year player has mostly played three-technique and nose tackle. Bennett said he would adapt to the defensive end role if necessary.
Omameh talks Bowanko trade
While they competed for the left guard spot throughout the preseason, Patrick Omameh and Luke Bowanko remain very close friends.
Bowanko was shipped out of town to Baltimore through a trade Saturday. The Jaguars received a 2019 seventh-round pick for Bowanko.
The move came as a surprise to Omameh.
"Yeah, nobody can really anticipate something like that," Omameh said, regarding the trade. "But at the same time, I'm happy for him, the opportunity he has and I know he's going to make the most of it. It's going to be a good situation."
Omameh is the favorite to start at left guard this week against the Texans. The Jaguars have yet to officially announce who the starter will be.
The new guy has a familiarity with Week 1 antagonist
New Jaguars defensive tackle Eli Ankou was claimed off waivers Sunday. He spent the entire offseason on the Texans' roster.
As a undrafted free agent, Ankou was able to stand out enough to get picked up by the Jaguars after he was cut by Houston Saturday.
Ankou comes to Jacksonville after playing alongside such players as J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveaon Clowney.
"Obviously, they're hard-working guys, it was good to be around them," Ankou said. "But pretty much at this point, I'm turning a new page and learning from some other good dudes [in Jacksonville]. I'm excited."
Now on the other side of the fence, Ankou is learning even more about his former teammates. As the Jaguars prepare for Week 1, Ankou is getting to see Watt, Mercilus and Clowney from an entirely new angle.
"It's one thing seeing the perspective I've been playing with for the last few months and then outside perspective in how meticulous the coaches are in doing their homework on other teams," Ankou said. "It's crazy to see."
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.
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