JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Marqise Lee knows that he and Allen Hurns are the players the Jacksonville Jaguars will depend upon most heavily to replace the production lost when Allen Robinson went down with a torn left ACL.
No problem, he says.
“We know we’ve got a great deal of pressure as far as upping our game play, stepping up to the plate and handling our business,” Lee said as the Jaguars (1-0) prepared for Sunday’s home opener against Tennessee (0-1). “This is what we prepare for, though. It’s not one bit of stress on my part or Hurns’ part or any of the receivers’ part.
“Our main focus is, ‘OK, one goes down we’ve just got to continue to move forward,’ and that’s what we’ve got to do.”
Lee and Hurns have combined for 268 catches for 3,691 yards and 24 touchdowns in the past four seasons. After that, however, Jaguars receivers have combined for 65 catches – all by Arrelious Benn, who made 59 of those catches with Tampa Bay from 2010 to 2012.
Benn, who had one catch for 12 yards last Sunday against Houston, had five catches for 116 yards last season, which was his first since 2012 because of various injuries. He is one of the Jaguars’ core special-teams players, but with Robinson’s injury will have to play more of a role on offense.
He averaged 14.6 yards per catch in three seasons with the Bucs, so he has been a productive player on offense in the NFL.
After Benn, however, the Jaguars’ depth chart is pretty sparse.
The other two players on the active roster are undrafted rookie Keelan Cole and recently-signed first-year player Max McCaffrey. Only Cole has appeared in a game (last Sunday against Houston), and he dropped the only pass thrown his way.
The Jaguars have two receivers on the practice squad, but Amba Etta-Tawo and Larry Pinkard have never appeared in a game. Etta-Tawo signed as an undrafted rookie this year and Pinkard originally signed with Green Bay as an undrafted rookie in 2015.
The Jaguars weren’t impressed with either enough to bring them off the practice squad this week, instead opting to sign McCaffrey.
So expect it to be Lee and Hurns getting the bulk of the work, with a heavy assist from Benn.
“We have confidence in Marqise and Allen to step up,” coach Doug Marrone said. “To sit here and say, ‘Hey, it doesn’t hurt, next man up type thing.’ We all understand that in our profession. What I think about is how hard A-Rob has worked and how much he’s put in. I know what type of year he wanted to have.
“I think that’s the thing that gets me as a coach more than anything, when you watch a player that’s done everything that you’ve asked him to do and was really set up for a great year.”