Special teams trickery led to a special moment for Jaguars TE James O'Shaughnessy

Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone discusses his approach with young wide receivers

Jaguars tight end James O'Shaughnessy has played 230 special teams snaps this season.

Despite playing the second-most special teams snaps on the entire team, no opportunity mattered more than his first play on punt coverage against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday.

The Jaguars' offense had stalled on its opening drive at the Jacksonville 49-yard line. Punter Brad Nortman lined up to boot the ball back to the Colts with 9:05 remaining in the first quarter.

Long snapper Colin Holba launched the ball behind him and Nortman caught it like he would on any other routine punt.

While the Jaguars' coverage unit blocked for Nortman, O'Shaugnessy broke free from the formation with plenty of open field in front of him. Nortman quickly hurled the ball to the backup tight end, who picked up 29 yards and a first down on the trick play.

"It was a great design by our special teams coach [Joe DeCamillis], we had a game plan that if we got a certain look we were going to call it," O'Shaughnessy said.

"I got to give Coach [Doug] Marrone a lot of credit for calling it early, having the faith in us to execute it. Brad threw a nice ball - perfect - and it worked like a charm, just like we expected."

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The 29-yard gain was O'Shaughnessy's biggest play of the season. It put the Jaguars' offense in position to continue its initial drive and score the game's first touchdown.

For the Jaguars, it was a clear momentum boost.

For O'Shaughnessy, it was a special moment. 

The tight end was wearing cleats to honor his uncle, who has been battling prostate cancer. His biggest play of the year took place while he was acknowledging a person and a cause that means so much to him.

"That was super special to me," O'Shaughnessy said.

"I told [my uncle] this week about the cleats and he was obviously very grateful. My whole family was just happy that we could shed such a positive light on a negative situation that we all have to deal with. We're not the only people who need to deal with cancer and how it affects so many Americans in our country. It was nice to make a play with those [cleats] on."

The trick play was the Jaguars' third fake punt of the season. It was the first time that a trick play involved a pass.

The play worked like a charm, despite the added wrinkle.

It was the latest example of why Jaguars special teams coordinator Joe DeCamillis is so respected throughout the league. He takes risks because he trusts his scheme and his players.

O'Shaughnessy has played for special teams gurus in the past. Dave Toub in Kansas City and Scott O'Brien in New England are seen as great special teams minds.

The journeyman tight end believes DeCamillis is among the best in the league.

"I've been on two other teams with great special teams coaches and all I can say is the coach we have here, Coach D, is as great, if not better than anyone I've ever played for," O'Shaugnessy said. "You've got to really thank Marrone and the special teams coach for trusting in us."

Trust plays a huge factor on special teams. The players understand that one false step can sabotage even the greatest of play designs.

DeCamillis has created an environment where players feel like they have his absolute confidence. That culture has paid off in a big way on trick plays this season.

"I've always been on teams where you have fakes but you're not sure if you want to make the call because if it goes wrong, it can be embarrassing," O'Shaughnessy said.

"Fortunately, we have coaches that trust us as players, trust that we can execute those type of plays, which they look easy but in a lot of ways they are difficult."

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

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