The Jacksonville Jaguars reduced their roster to 53 players on Saturday with little surprise, but a few questions about the makeup of the team.
The Jacksonville Jaguars and the rest of the NFL reduced their roster to 53 players on Saturday. There were few surprises in the decisions by head coach Doug Marrone and his staff as players were told their fate and news spread over social media like a match to a candle wick.
Maybe the biggest news of the afternoon was the team’s decision to stick with 10 offensive linemen and reduce its running back core to three players as well as three tight ends. The decision to keep more depth up front may have something to do with the offensive philosophy of using the running game (ranked first in the NFL in 2017) to establish the passing game.
"“It is a bit surprising the Jaguars kept 10 offensive linemen, including three interior reserves in Tyler Shatley, Chris Reed, and Josh Walker,” writes Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. “However, that might be an indication the knee injury center Brandon Linder suffered in the second preseason game will linger into the early part of the season. Both Shatley and Reed can play center and guard, and Shatley would be the starter at center if Linder can’t go against the New York Giants in Week 1.”"
More from Jacksonville Jaguars News
- 3 landing spots for Jacksonville Jaguars WR Marvin Jones in 2023 NFL free agency
- 3 takeaways from Jacksonville Jaguars decision to give DE Roy Robertson-Harris new 3-year deal
- Jacksonville Jaguars LB Foyesade Oluokun contract restructure paves the way for other moves
- Jacksonville Jaguars not a realistic trade parter for Jalen Ramsey (past history aside)
- Jaguars News: Jalen Ramsey is available once again
Walker had been a pleasant surprise in camp, drawing praise from the coaching staff. The injury to Linder is significant because he is the anchor of that line. While he missed three games last season – including the 30-9 win over Pittsburgh – the Jaguars are a better team with him at the pivot.
"According to John Oehser of Jaguars.com, the breakdown of the team’s roster is an even split with 25 offensive players, 25 defensive players, a kicker, a punter and a long snapper."
It’s about numbers and depth as far as this team is concerned. The Jaguars waived both running backs, Brandon Wilds and Tim Cook after they looked good in the 25-10 win over Tampa Bay on Thursday. It’s a bit of a surprise move by the coaching staff when it was believed there would be four tight ends on the roster. But with the move to release veteran Ben Koyack, the message was clear the big bodies up front will be key to wins this season.
Of the notable players released, rookie sixth-round pick, quarterback Tanner Lee was waived. Lee, should he clear waivers, could come back as a member of the team’s practice squad. Lee looked like a potential NFL quarterback on Thursday, giving the team his best performance of the preseason. The thought may be he can develop into a decent pro player with time and technique.
"“This was a newsy position Saturday. Fournette, Yeldon, and Grant were obviously on the roster, but the team opted to keep just three running backs with the release of first-year veterans Brandon Wilds and Tim Cook,” Oehser added. “There also had been speculation the Jaguars could go without a fullback, but [Tommy] Bohanon was kept on the roster rather than utilizing an H-Back or defensive lineman in the role.”"
With the suspension of fourth-year defensive end Dante Fowler for the first game of the season, the Jaguars kept Dawaune Smoot on the roster. That might change a week from Monday when the former first-round draft pick will be added to the roster and another player must be released.
Smoot, a third-rounder from last year, has been injured most of the preseason and played on Thursday night.
The wide receiver unit was dealt a blow when veteran Marqise Lee suffered a season-ending knee injury against Atlanta. Because of the loss by the team, it opened a door for Rashad Greene, who has battled injuries during his career himself.
He may not have made the roster if Lee was healthy. Jaydon Mickens also made the cut and figures to serve as the team’s punt returner.
The feel-good story of this preseason was the work of Tre’ Herndon, who made the final roster. The defensive back was the only one of 16 undrafted rookies to realize his dream.