Just days after making a massive sweep of roster transactions to account for injuries, the Jacksonville Jaguars are looking to return most of the contributors who missed Sunday’s 24-20 loss to the Green Bay Packers.
Head coach Doug Marrone gave an update to local media on Monday on the list of injured players, which includes a number of starters and key backups.
Running back Chris Thompson will be placed on injured reserve this week, per the coach. Rookie James Robinson has handled RB1 duties and is the leading rusher. But the veteran Thompson has been utilized in situational downs like third and in red zone, while also flashing as a pass-catching back. He was ruled out of Sunday's game after one snap with a back injury.
The running back unit should get some depth back however since Marrone revealed second-year Devine Ozigbo will be practicing this week. He has appeared in only one game this season while dealing with hamstring injuries. Tight end James O’Shaughnessy will return to practice later in the week, Marrone said.
According to Marrone, center Brandon Linder is expected back this week. The starting offensive lineman was out on Sunday with a back injury. Tackle Cam Robinson exited Sunday’s game for a few snaps with a shoulder injury, but still played 95% of the offensive snaps and Marrone believes the starter will "be fine” this week.
Rookie wide receiver Laviska Shenault missed the matchup in Week 10 with a hamstring injury and Marrone said they will wait to see how he progresses this week. Even after missing Sunday, Shenault remains the third leading receiver and rusher on the team, averaging 47.2 all-purpose yards per game. The Colorado product exited the Week 9 game versus the Houston Texans, early in the first quarter.
Veteran receiver and team captain Chris Conley had been steady in the rotation of receivers but has been used more as the outside receiver opposite DJ Chark in Shenault’s absence. In the last two games, he has had 11 catches for 95 yards.
No matter who takes Shenault’s snaps however, Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden explained last week that without the rookie offensive weapon, there are a significant number of plays that are taken out of the playbook.
“Yeah, they’re scrapped [when he goes out]. Laviska [Shenault Jr.] does some special things. You put him in the backfield, you can do some wildcat things, and you don’t do that with anybody else. He’s getting all those reps, the reverses and all that stuff.
“Some other guys we can get out in space and do somethings, but Laviska’s a different cat and calls for a different type of play. Once he went out, it shortened up our playbook, but we had plenty of other stuff to get to.”
Quarterback Gardner Minshew will throw more this week but be held out for another Sunday for sure, meaning rookie Jake Luton will receiver his third start against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday.
On defense, Marrone said he expects linebacker Dakota Allen (ankle) to return, along with defensive tackle Doug Costin (concussion).
Both Allen and Costin missed Sunday’s game in Green Bay. Allen had played in seven games accumulating 16 tackles but has been on the injury report with both a foot and ankle injury at separate times.
Defensive lineman Abry Jones remains on IR but Marrone shared he would likely be working to the side in practice, “I’m not sure.”
The Jaguars (1-8) will return home this weekend to face the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers.