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Jaguars vs. Falcons: Jacksonville to Have Campbell, Linder, O'Shaughnessy Available

While the Jaguars won't have Shaquill Griffin on hand vs. the Falcons, they will have one starting cornerback ready to play, along with two returning offensive players.

While the Jacksonville Jaguars won't have starting cornerback Shaquill Griffin on the field against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 12, they will have a few other key players on hand -- specifically cornerback Tyson Campbell, center Brandon Linder, and tight end James O'Shaughnessy, with the latter two set to make their first returns to the field since the first-half of the season. 

Campbell suffered a AC sprain against the 49ers that forced him out of the Week 11 contest last week, but the rookie cornerback and No. 33 overall pick will have to step into the Jaguars' No. 1 cornerback role this weekend. Meanwhile, Linder has missed the last five games while O'Shaughnessy has been on injured reserve since Week 2.

"Tyson Campbell good to go, [Brandon Linder and James O’Shaughnessy], both of those players are ready to go," head coach Urban Meyer said on Friday. "That is the plan.”

Campbell's ability to fight through his injury will be significant. The rookie cornerback has played his best football of the season over the last three weeks and the Jaguars have been emphatic about his improvement and development since the season's early weeks, when he was thrown to the fire and asked to contribute right away. 

“Great. His practice ever since he came out with an injury, you can see he’s playing the ball much better than he did early in his tenure here," Meyer said about Campbell last week. "I just like the way he’s walking around here. He’s got a little bit of that [swagger], corners are different ducks now. I don’t like the shy corner.

culture, enhance your strengths, fix your weaknesses. That might be the perfect example.”

The Jaguars designated Linder and O'Shaughnessy to return from injured reserve last week. Jacksonville's offense has been completely derailed over the past month, with the hope that a returning Linder will help to stabilize a Jaguars' offensive line that is also missing right guard A.J. Cann.

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"Oh I think tremendous," Meyer said on Monday when asked about the potential boost of the returns of Linder and O'Shaughnessy. 

"They’re both quality players and [Brandon] Linder is a captain. He’s really our vocal player on offense and he’s good. And then [James] O’Shaughnessy, before he got hurt, he’s contributing. So, we’ll like to see those guys back this week.”

Linder has started 84 games for the Jaguars since his rookie season, with the last 66 of those starts coming at center. Linder has consistently been pointed to as the lynchpin of the offensive line, especially with a rookie quarterback in Trevor Lawrence taking snaps.

Linder has since been replaced by consistent and steady veteran backup center Tyler Shatley, but getting Linder back in the lineup could be a boost for an offense that has scored three touchdowns in the last three games, especially since the Jaguars currently have two starting offensive linemen missing from the lineup due to injuries with Linder and right guard A.J. Cann.

“We are down two studs there. I mean, Linder is my guy and he’s a Jaguar, he’s a leader, he’s the apex of the offense. "And [Tyler] Shatley is a veteran guy that has done pretty good. But to say that we don’t miss Linder, that’s incorrect," Urban Meyer said on Nov. 5. "And then A.J. [Cann] was playing some pretty good ball for us, too. [Ben] Bartch has done very good and then Will [Richardson Jr.]."

O'Shaughnessy caught seven passes for 72 yards in the first two weeks despite playing just 62 snaps. Since then, tight end Dan Arnold has become one of the biggest pieces of the Jaguars' offense, but the Jaguars are needing all of the athletic pass-catchers they can find with injuries to Jamal Agnew, DJ Chark, and Travis Etienne. 

"Well he [James O’Shaughnessy] has become a much better blocker early, you know obviously before his injury," Meyer said last week. "He is a good [receiver], I always felt he is a good quality receiver. I remember the play he got hurt on, [he] did a heck of a job. I think it was [Arizona] Cardinals. I like O-Shag [James O’Shaughnessy], last year he struggled with that knee but the year before he had a good year. I think it was 2019 or something.”