The Jacksonville Jaguars will return two crucial starters on Sunday against the Los Angeles Chargers. Defensive end Josh Allen and kicker Josh Lambo will both rejoin the lineup.
Allen has missed the past two weeks with a knee injury. He was never officially placed on IR and was questionable each week, with the last two games being the first NFL games the second-year veteran has missed in his career.
"Yeah I think obviously it’s gonna be big for us coming back. He’s worked hard, he’s had a good week and I know he’s excited to get on the field. So it definitely can give us that boost that we need," head coach Doug Marrone said on Friday.
On Thursday, Allen told local media that while he was taking things day-to-day, he was making a clear effort to return by Sunday for the Chargers match.
“I’m working as hard as I can to get back on the field as soon as possible. Like I said before, it’s a day-by-day process, and I’m just doing everything I can to get back on there," Allen said.
“It’s been stressful for me just not being able to help my team out and in a couple situations. Especially not traveling to Houston, that was a big one for me. [It was the] first game I’ve ever missed in my career and just watching it on TV, not being out there to support them, not being out there to cheer them on was kind of really hard for me at first. I had all [the] faith in my boys, and we didn’t pull it out but hopefully we do a good job this week.”
Rookie K’Lavon Chaisson has been starting in his place, although a rotation has been used.
Lambo suffered a hip injury during the Week 2 game against the Tennessee Titans. In his absence, the Jaguars have used four different kickers. Those four have gone 5-9 on field goals and 5-6 on extra points. Standing in the shoes of one of the league’s most consistent kickers the past few years, it was a stark contrast. No Lambo also meant Marrone and Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden had to change their play calling, knowing they didn’t have an automatic three-point minimum anytime they crossed mid-field.
With Lambo returning, Marrone told reporters on Friday he’s thankful he doesn’t have to worry about that any longer.
“I think a lot of times you watch what’s going on during the week and it’s gone well then you get out there in the game and you kind of get thrown a little bit. When someone, if they miss an extra point or miss a field goal. I think that’s where it starts to change for you where a guy like Josh, he’s been really consistent.
“He’s been really consistent for us. He’s been one of the top guys in the league as far as percentage-wise. Like I’ve said before, I never really use to think about when we sent him out there to be able to make those field goals. And I think it’s a point now where I trust him, he feels good and it definitely puts your mind at ease that you’re not thinking about that, as that team takes the field, to kick an extra point or a field goal.”
The Jaguars will be without three starters however; linebacker Myles Jack (ankle), tight end Tyler Eifert (neck) and safety Jarrod Wilson (hamstring). Offensive lineman A.J. Cann is questionable. Jacksonville kicks off against the Chargers on Sunday at 4:25 p.m.