Will the signing of wide receiver Terrelle Pryor prove to be one of the better offseason moves the Jacksonville Jaguars made in free agency in 2019?
There’s a reason the Jacksonville Jaguars brought Terrelle Pryor this past week to potentially help bolster the passing game. If anything, the veteran who has had a 1,000-yard receiving season in 2016 adds a big body to the wide receiver room and gives quarterback Nick Foles another target to play catch with.
One of the things the Jaguars are attempting to do under new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo is to mend a broken passing attack from the 2018 season. Jacksonville, with both Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler playing under center, ranked 26th in the passing yards per game last year in the NFL with 194.3 per clip.
Those numbers aren’t going to scare opposing secondaries. Pryor is one of two additions to this core of pass catchers, along with Chris Conley, who could make a bigger difference than many may think. At 6-foot-4 and 228 pounds, he is a physical pass catcher this offense did not have. Conley is every bit 6-foot-3 but is not the physical runner at 205 pounds Pryor can be. Add DJ Chark to the mix, who is 6-foot-4, and suddenly the Jaguars have targets who can contend for 50-50 balls down the field.
That has not happened since Allen Robinson was on the roster.
Pryor told ESPN.com’s Michael DiRocco he signed with the Jaguars because of Tom Coughlin’s influence on wide receivers. Coughlin, the executive vice president of football operations for the franchise is no longer a coach on the sidelines or in practice, but his work in years past, where Pryor is concerned, left a lasting impression that ultimately lead to the former third-round pick out of Ohio State making North Florida his latest stop in his NFL career.
“His view of receivers and how he teaches it, even when he was a head coach,” Pryor said. “I remember working out for him back in 2015,” Pryor said.
“I was hurt coming off of the Browns and I got cut from the Browns in the preseason. I worked out for the Giants, and I was excited because I knew about Coughlin’s history with receivers and stuff. When I worked out for him and he didn’t sign me, I was kind of bummed out.”
Coughlin spent seven seasons as a receivers coach with Philadelphia, Green Bay, and the New York Giants.
Adding Pryor to the wide receiver room also makes the job of receivers coach Keenan McCardell a bit tougher as well. The Jaguars may only keep five wide receivers on their roster (and three tight ends). With a logjam of players on the roster fighting for a role on this offense, who stays and who goes?
Also, with the injury to Marqise Lee and no definite timetable for his return, does one veteran replace another one on the roster until Lee’s return? Would another pass catcher be released if Pryor’s efforts warrant more playing time?
These are good problems to have considering the poor performance of the unit – with the exception of Dede Westbrook – last season. If Pryor is a “hit” for the Jaguars, then a veteran with experience proves he can still make an impact. If it isn’t a smooth transition, then taking a look doesn’t hurt the roster.
Pryor and the Jaguars are hoping for the former, not the later. So are the team’s fans who want to see more excitement out of this passing game in 2019.