Jaguars' inexperienced wide receiver group expected to step up with Hurns sidelined

Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone discusses preparation for Week 11

Allen Hurns' ankle injury will have an impact on the Jaguars' passing game. The offense will need to rely on several inexperienced players opposite starter Marqise Lee, who is also battling a knee injury.

Outside of Lee and Hurns, the Jaguars' active wide receiver group has caught just 15 passes for 230 receiving yards through nine games.

To put that into perspective, last year's fourth-string wide receiver Bryan Walters caught 24 passes for 231 receiving yards and two touchdowns in 10 games.

DOWNLOAD: The free First Coast Football App for stats, scores, analysis, stories and more

The production hasn't really been there for the Jaguars' depth receivers this season. In fairness to them, the opportunities haven't either.

Fourth-round pick Dede Westbrook was activated off injured reserve Saturday and is expected to play against the Cleveland Browns.

He has lofty expectations for his NFL debut.

“I always set the standard high for myself," Westbrook said during an interview with the Teal & Black Blitz on Wednesday.

"For me, and this has nothing to do with the Cleveland Browns at all, but my expectation is a 200-yard receiving game."

The Jaguars may need Westbrook to provide that sort of production with Hurns sidelined. However, it's not likely that he is able to produce on that level consistently.

Lee and undrafted rookie wide receiver Keelan Cole are the most likely to pick up the slack in Hurns' absence. Cole is the only receiver outside of Lee and Hurns with multiple catches on the season.

Through nine games, Cole has flashed as a deep threat in the Jaguars' offense. He has produced 14 catches for 219 receiving yards.

Cole may be asked to handle Hurns' responsibilities in two-receiver sets and then go back to his incumbent role in three-receiver looks. Westbrook or first-year wide receiver Jaydon Mickens could be asked to fill in when necessary.

Westbrook and Mickens both offer big-play potential but they have combined for only one catch for 11 yards so far during their NFL careers. Mickens lone NFL catch came last week against the Los Angeles Chargers after Hurns went down with the injury.

It should be "all hands on deck" for the Jaguars wide receivers moving forward. Someone needs to make consistent plays in Hurns' place. It doesn't matter if it's Westbrook or Cole or Mickens.

For the Jaguars to thrive in the push towards the playoffs, quarterback Blake Bortles will need as many as weapons as possible. Jacksonville will need the "next man up" strategy to pay off in a big way or they could suffer some serious consequences.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

Listen to "Teal & Black Blitz with Mike Kaye and Mike DiRocco (Podcast) 11-15" on Spreaker.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


JOIN THE CONVERSATION

To find out more about Facebook commenting please read the
Conversation Guidelines and FAQs

Leave a Comment
More Stories