Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Marqise Lee will miss the entire 2018 season with a knee injury he suffered in the preseason game against Atlanta Saturday night.
When Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone told the media Saturday night following the team’s 17-6 win over Atlanta the injury to wide receiver Marqise Lee looked “bad” that’s all you needed to know.
Marrone announced that Lee would miss the entire 2018 season because the hit he took to the knee in the first quarter of the game. He would not go into specifics about the injury, per Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com.
This is the second year in a row the Jaguars have lost their top receiver to a knee injury. Allen Robinson suffered an ACL injury on the first drive of the 2017 season at Houston.
It’s a blow to this offense as Lee has been a solid participant in training camp and has stepped forward as the No. 1 pass catcher in this offense. Now, other wide receivers must step forward and replace the most tenured player of the group.
Last season, the Jaguars wide receivers suffered multiple injuries throughout the season. This will be a true test for offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett. Injuries are a part of this game, but Lee was one player coaches and teammates had singled out for having a great offseason.
Keelan Cole, the second-year undrafted wide receiver out of Kentucky Wesleyan spoke in an interview after the game Saturday night. He said he knows the team will be counting on him and others to step forward and pick up where Lee left off.
"“I’ve just got to step up,” Cole said. “I know he’s going to be there physically and spiritually, so we’re just going to listen to him and keep learning and keep on moving forward.”"
NFL.com is reporting Lee will undergo surgery and has been placed on the injured reserve list.
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"“Lee was injured after catching a 20-yard pass and getting hit low by safety Damontae Kazee, who was then flagged 15 yards for lowering his helmet to initiate contact,” Kevin Patra wrote. “Kazee made contact with Lee’s left knee, causing it to bend at an awkward angle.”"
Because there were many pass catchers out with injuries last season, Cole said it makes it easier to adjust to changes in the offense, but it isn’t something anyone wants to see happen to teammates and opponents.
"“It’s the game of football and things happen. It was definitely a help last year and knowing what to do from here and it’s the third preseason game, so it gives more time to figure out what we’re going to do with that,” he added."
Cole caught 42 passes last year and led the team with 748 receiving yards. He could become the team’s top threat on the outside. He said even without Lee in the lineup, he can still be a vocal leader in the film room.
"“[Marqise] can still be vocal and still not play, but you never know what’s going on and hopefully he’s good, but it happened the same way last year,” added Cole. “When they’re not on the field, they’re talking to us on the sideline, but (Donte) Moncrief is a vet, too, so he’ll come in and fill those shoes.”"
Donte Moncrief showed his playmaking ability Saturday night with three catches for 62 yards. Rookie second-round pick DJ Chark should also figure prominently in the offense, especially in the red zone with his 6-foot-four frame.