The Jacksonville Jaguars had three starters return to practice on Wednesday—albeit in a limited role—after having been out last week and missing Sunday’s 27-25 loss to the Cleveland Browns.
Wide receiver DJ Chark (ribs), receiver Chris Conley (hip), and corner Sidney Jones (Achilles) all were limited participants on Wednesday.
With Chark and Conley out this past Sunday, rookie receiver Collin Johnson saw much more playing time. He put together his best game of the season, finishing with four receptions (eight targets) for a team-high 96 yards and one touchdown.
“He definitely stepped up his game, which is great to see,” said Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden on Johnson’s performance in Chark and Conley’s absence.
“We’ve been trying to get him on the field a little bit more. With both DJ [Chark Jr.] and Chris [Conley], it’s been hard to get him out there, get him the reps, but to see him step up in those guys’ absence was great to see. So sure, I think we’ll check to see how Chris is doing in practice today, same with DJ, but we won’t hesitate to get him in there if it plays out like that.”
Despite missing now two games, Chark still leads the team in all major receiving categories; 41 receptions (66 targets), 534 yards, 59.3 yards per game and four touchdowns (for which he is tied with Keelan Cole).
Quarterback Mike Glennon will be getting his second start for the Jaguars on Sunday versus the Minnesota Vikings. It will also be his first opportunity to—presumably—play with Chark. After watching the Pro-Bowler the last few months, the chance is something Glennon is looking forward to this week.
“He’s a great player,” Glennon said of Chark Wednesday.
“I think watching from a distance last year I knew the name, I knew he was a good player. But when I got here this year, it was probably three days into camp where I remember going up to him like, ‘I didn’t know you were this good.’ I mean he can make a lot of plays. I’ve been with a lot of good receivers and he’s up there, so I’m excited to get the opportunity to hopefully play with him this week.”
Conley has 27 receptions for 332 yards and a touchdown. The captain has missed only the Browns game thus far.
Sidney Jones had moved into a starting corner role due to shuffling in the secondary amidst injures. He has a team-high nine passes defended and a team-high two interceptions along with a forced fumble and 23 tackles.
Rookie corners CJ Henderson and Chris Claybrooks (also starters at various points) have been placed on IR. Nickel corner DJ Hayden is on IR as well, meaning Tre Herndon could shift inside. Ergo, Jones return to outside corner will provide the experience and depth the position was lacking versus the Browns.
Back on November 19, Defensive Coordinator Todd Wash said of Jones, “he’s getting his hands on balls, I think he’s being disruptive. He’s really doing a nice job in man coverage and getting disruption at the line of scrimmage.
"Obviously, some plays you don’t even see that he gets great disruption at the line of scrimmage and the quarterback goes away from him. So, he’s playing [consistently], which is really good to see and hopefully he’s going to be a Jaguar for a while.”
The Jacksonville Jaguars (1-10) will travel to face the Minnesota Vikings (5-6) on Sunday.