JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Second-year wide receiver DJ Chark has had a breakout season for the Jacksonville Jaguars, becoming a breakout player and being named as an alternate to the Pro Bowl. Now, Chark just needs 26 receiving yards to reach 1,000 yards on the season, the perfect way to cap off a sophomore campaign.
"We love DJ. We think he’s one of the best in the league," Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew II said Tuesday. "If he wouldn’t have been banged up, I think we would have had [1,000 yards receiving] by now, but it’s a thing that’s special."
Chark has caught 69 passes for 974 yards and eight touchdowns in 2019, only a year after the former second-round pick failed to catch 20 passes or record 200 yards in a dissapointing rookie season. He has made play after play for a struggling Jaguars offense, including a number of explosive catches with Minshew at the helm.
The hope is that connection can hit a few more times against the Indianapolis Colts at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday and finally get Chark to the 1k club.
"In my opinion, the best way to win the game is to get him involved, and if we do that, then he’ll get it no problem and we’ll win the game," Minshew said
Chark is doing his best not to focus on the special milestone or how close he comes to getting it. It would of course be a big moment for him, but he would much prefer a Jaguars win, even if it means he records zero catches.
But Chark also knows that if he plays as well as he's capable of, he shouldn't have any issues getting 26 more yards.
"I just have to do what I have to do," Chark said Tuesday. "I think that would be pretty cool for me. I would be excited. I wouldn’t lie and say I don’t think about it, but it wouldn’t make or break how I feel about my season. I am also not going out there to play for 1,000 yards. I am playing because I like playing football and I want to win with my team."
Chark had a chance to get the milestone earlier than Week 17 before an ankle injury late in Jacksonville's Week 14 game vs. the Los Angeles Chargers held him out of Week 15. He played last Sunday vs. the Atlanta Falcons but was clearly not healthy, catching only two passes for 18 yards. But thankfully for his sake, he should be in a better state come Week 17.
“He wasn’t 100 percent [last week]. We were trying to get a snap count between 25 and 35 for him," head coach Doug Marrone said Tuesday. "Afterwards, he said that he didn’t feel like any of the routes that he ran hindered him, or made it worse, so he’s better now than he was last week. So, I can’t say if he’ll be 100 percent, but he’ll be better than he was last week.”