Jaguars wide receiver group received halftime encouragement from sidelined Hurns

The Jaguars faced uncertainty at the wide receiver position entering Week 11's matchup against the Cleveland Browns.

Fielding a group of wide receivers with limited experience opposite starter Marqise Lee, it was hard for the Jaguars to project significant production from their passing game. 

Rookie Keelan Cole played in just nine games before the matchup against Cleveland. He posted 14 catches prior to Week 11. 

Jaydon Mickens, the team's punt returner, had only played in four regular season games. Dede Westbrook and Larry Pinkard were making their NFL debuts against the Browns.

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The aftermath of Allen Hurns' ankle injury - suffered late in the Week 10 win over the Los Angeles Chargers - offered little room for comfort.

However, the Jaguars made the most of what they had to work with. The young group was able to make enough plays to help Jacksonville pick up a 19-7 win in rough weather.

Westbrook and Cole combined for six catches for 59 receiving yards opposite Lee, who caught five passes for 45 yards.

Pinkard and Mickens chipped in on special teams but played 11 total snaps on offense.

The group took a 10-7 lead to halftime. During the break, the group received a few text messages from Hurns, who was watching the game on television in Jacksonville.

"He was giving us encouragement and telling us to stay warm," Mickens said during an interview Monday with the Teal & Black Blitz on SportsRadio930

Hurns had been present in the locker room and film room, despite his injury. While it's evident that the likes of Cole and Westbrook could cut into his playing time when he comes back, Hurns still maintained his role as a veteran leader.

The young wide receivers asked Hurns - via text messages - about what he saw during the first half. Receiving pointers from the fourth-year veteran was nothing new for the likes of Westbrook, Mickens and Cole.

"Since Day 1, he let us know that if we do something bad, he will call us out on it," Mickens said of Hurns.

"'That's not how you do it and this is how it should be done.' Some players - not in our locker room - take offense to that but our room as a receiver group, we all feed off each others' positivity and we all feed off each others' negative plays if we miss a block or run a route a certain way when it's supposed to be flattened or taken high. We learn from each other and we're getting better each and every day and each and every week."

With Hurns potentially out of the lineup for a few more weeks, the Jaguars will continue to rely on their cast of inexperienced wide receivers. Lee has served as a de facto top target for quarterback Blake Bortles.

In order for the passing game to expand past its "good enough" effort against the Browns, second and third options need to emerge at receiver. Westbrook and Cole seem poised for those jobs but Mickens and Pinkard should also receive more opportunities in the near future.

Hurns will seemingly be there to guide them as a mentor, even at the cost of a future dip in playing time.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

Listen to "Teal & Black Blitz with Mike Kaye and Mike DiRocco (Podcast) 11-20" on Spreaker.

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