Marqise Lee working on his return to the Jaguars

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 10: Dede Westbrook /

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone spoke to the media this week about the progress Marqise Lee is making in his rehab of his knee injury he suffered during the preseason last year.

Even before the Jacksonville Jaguars took the field for the 2018 season, they had lost one of their leaders. Marqise Lee suffered a knee injury against the Atlanta Falcons in a meaningless preseason game that cost him the season and a chance to shine as the team’s top wide receiver.

Without Lee on the field and in the locker room, the Jaguars wide receivers didn’t have their vocal leader, their veteran. While the problems with the passing game were a combination of things that hope to be corrected in 2019, having Lee there with his teammates may have made a modicum of difference.

The Jaguars led the NFL in dropped passes last year.

This offseason, Lee has been working to rehab his knee and had stayed in contact with the team from his home in California. Head coach Doug Marrone talked about Lee’s progress at the team meetings in Arizona. He said he knows Lee, who signed a contract extension in the offseason of 2018, wants to get back on the field, to help this team win.

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"“He said he feels good,” Marrone said. “We know it’s going to be something that’s going to be late in the preseason – that type of situation. Here’s what I like about Marqise Lee: Every time I talk to him he’s feeling better, has a smile on his face and he’s dying to get back. When you see players who are injured and they have that type of mentality and expression, that makes you feel good as a coach.”"

Lee re-signed with the franchise for four years and $34 million. He will make $7.25 million this seasn. The Jaguars need him on the field with a new quarterback, Nick Foles, in house and the potential for new pass catchers added to this roster.

In his place last season, Dede Westbrook stepped up and led the team with 66 catches for 714 yards and five touchdowns.

Since his status is still up in the air as to when the Jaguars may get Lee back on the field, the team may still look at add another wide receiver in the NFL Draft. Jacksonville added Chris Conley from Kansas City in free agency earlier this month.

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Marqise Lee was a second-round draft pick out of USC in 2014, the same draft class that produced Allen Robinson and rookie free agent Allen Hurns.