Jaguars notes: Allen Robinson’s injury could be break for Marqise Lee
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Of all the rookies drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars to help the offense, the only one who hasn’t made a noticeable impact at some point this season has been wide receiver Marqise Lee.
That’s about to change.
With Tuesday’s announcement that fellow second-round pick Allen Robinson will miss the final six games because of a stress fracture in his right foot, look for Lee to become more involved in the passing game.
Due in large part to problems with both hamstrings during training camp and early in the regular season, Lee has only 13 receptions for 141 yards and no touchdowns through 10 games.
"As of right now, I feel like I’ll be prepared," Lee said. "All I have to do is enjoy the bye week, get my body right, continue treatment, and then get into the playbook and get ready for Indianapolis."
Robinson was leading the Jaguars in catches (48) and receiving yards (548) at the time of his injury, which he said began bothering him Sunday during the early part of their 31-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys in London. Robinson had 10 passes thrown his way by Blake Bortles in the game and played in 65 of a possible 71 snaps.
"My foot had been sore a little bit a couple weeks back," Robinson said. "I thought it was just one of those things that was a little bit more sore this time."
Added head coach Gus Bradley: "You don’t want to downplay the impact that (injury) will have. He was an important part and doing very well. But it will give other guys an opportunity."
Lee, who Bradley said is coming off his best week of practice, had been mentioned as a possible replacement at punt returner for Ace Sanders, whose fumble inside the 10-yard line in the first quarter led to Dallas’ first touchdown. But the injury to Robinson means Sanders should retain that job while Lee concentrates on becoming a dependable receiver.
"The challenge for him was taking it from the practice field to the game field," Bradley said. "Now with this heightened opportunity for him, hopefully he takes advantage of it."
With Robinson out, the healthiest leading receiver on the Jaguars is Cecil Shorts III with 33 catches, followed by rookie Allen Hurns with 30.
"He was getting better each and every week," Shorts said. "You hate to lose anybody on the team to injury. But I’m pretty sure he’ll come back stronger and ready to go next year."
LEWIS SET TO RETURN
Marcedes Lewis, the veteran tight end who has not played since sustaining a high left ankle sprain Sept. 14 at Washington, is expected to be activated as soon as Monday when the Jaguars return from their bye week.
In his absence, Clay Harbor has caught 25 passes for 272 yards. The Jaguars have seen their running game develop behind second-year back Denard Robinson. But Bradley said the return of the 6-foot-6, 272-pound Lewis should improve their blocking while freeing up Harbor to contribute more as a member of the special teams.
"I had two good weeks of practice," Lewis said. "And I’m ready to go."
The Jaguars are one of six NFL teams that have scored touchdowns less than 50 percent of the time inside their opponent’s red zone this season. Having a tall target such as Lewis ought to be welcome news to Bortles, who has not played with him in game situations since the third week of the preseason.
"I’m looking forward to coming back and getting on the same page with him and kind of picking his brain and seeing what he likes to do," Lewis said.
Lewis spent part of the past two months back home in Los Angeles and was scheduled to fly there Tuesday to see his doctor. He was also a familiar sideline presence during his inactivity.
"The way I carried myself, the way I was attending meetings, the way I would help on the sidelines — they know I’m here and was being connected this whole entire time," he said. "It’s not necessarily like I went home and just went to sleep."
HELLO TO BYE
As was the case last year when the Jaguars had a week off following a game in London, Bradley decided against practicing in favor of trusting his players to let their bodies heal. Some players will receive treatment in the days ahead, including Hurns, who sustained a concussion. Right guard Brandon Linder is still recovering from a shoulder injury, while right tackle Austin Pasztor has a sore hamstring.
"Some of the things that we asked them to do, they will be thinking about football and going through it," Bradley said. "But I think the biggest thing for us is that they come back Monday rejuvenated, refreshed and ready to go mentally."