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Jaguars ready to square off with Packers, old friends

From facing-off with former first-round pick Marcedes Lewis to countering future Hall of Famer Aaron Rodgers, the Big Cats will have their hands full Sunday
Credit: AP
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole (84) and tight end Marcedes Lewis (89) run a route during the first half of an NFL football game against the Houston Texans Sunday, Dec. 17, 2017, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

Marcedes Lewis didn't mince words with the Green Bay media on Friday.

"I saw that I was being released [by the Jaguars in 2018] on ESPN," the 14-year veteran tight end said. "And at the same time I'm looking at ESPN, my agent is calling me. I didn't want to hear it from him first. I'd rather them hit me up and at least give me the option of whether to take a pay cut or whatever. At least just have a conversation, but we never got to that point."

And at that point: the Jaguars were coming off an appearance in the 2017 AFC Championship Game.

Now, they're 1-7. And Lewis is part of a Packers team that is 6-2.

"I felt like we could have handled it differently. But we definitely moved on -- no hard feelings," Lewis continued, saying it took him "about a year" to get over the separation. "I don't have any of that energy. We are preparing here just like it is another game. Just like I am every Sunday: I am just excited to compete." 

That's the million dollar question:

How much of a competition will it be?

The Packers enter this Week Ten match-up ranked seventh in total offense. Aaron Rodgers' 24 touchdown passes is ranked third -- and one-third of those touchdown passes have been to Lewis and Packers' tight ends. 

The Jaguars have given up 30-plus points in six of their eight games and will be without several starters.

The team announced a series of transactions Saturday afternoon -- in addition to the five players ruled Out on Friday (Gardner Minshew, Laviska Shenault, Doug Costin, Dakota Allen and Devine Ozigbo):

- Center Brandon Linder (back) is Out and did not make the trip to Green Bay

- Safety Josh Jones (safety) is Out and has been placed on Injured-Reserve

- The team activated safety Andrew Wingard off IR

- The team elevated OL KC McDermott and S Doug Middleton to the active roster

- The team used standard elevation spots on LB Joe Giles-Harris and WR Terry Godwin

- The team activated Kicker Chase McLaughlin from the exempt/commissioners permission list. He is expected to kick Sunday despite just joining the team Sunday 

That's a lot of moving pieces.

The Packers have their fair share of injuries, too, and, in one case, it means another "familiar face" won't square off with the Jaguars: wide receiver Allen Lazard, who was a part of the Jaguars' practice squad in 2018 before being signed by the Packers and blossoming as Rodgers' WR2. Lazard had core muscle surgery in early October and returned to practice this week, but won't be a part of the active roster this Sunday.

Green Bay did activate another player [with Iowa connections], linebacker Christian Kirksey, off the Injured Reserve List Saturday. They placed another player, tight end John Lovett, on IR.

But Lovett has yet to catch a pass this season. The Packers' other four tight ends all have -- and three of them have touchdowns.

And you know the veteran of the group -- Marcedes Lewis -- will be ready for Sunday.