The Jaguars will play against the Oakland Raiders on Sunday without their top wide receiver DJ Chark due to an ankle injury.
Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark has been ruled out by the team’s medical staff for Sunday’s game against the Oakland Raiders. The team’s second-leading receiver suffered an ankle injury in the 45-10 loss to the Los Angeles Chargers last Sunday and have been working to try to get back on the field for this weekend’s final game in Oakland.
"Per Jaguars.com senior writer John Oehser, “With Chark out, the Jaguars’ top three receivers entering Sunday are third-year veterans Dede Westbrook (55 receptions, 569 yards, and two touchdowns) and Keelan Cole (17, 195, two) – and fifth-year veteran Chris Conley (38, 632, two).”"
Chark leads the team with 954 yards receiving this season.
Cole figures to be the one who benefits the most from Chark’s absence, but it also means the work for Leonard Fournette should also pick up. The running back leads the team with 68 catches, one more than Chark this season and is on pace to catch 83 balls over 16 games. Fournette also has 1,039 yards rushing this season and needs one more yard to match his rookie rushing total.
"“We were hoping [that Chark could play Sunday]; I think it’s really close,” head coach Doug Marrone said when he met with the media following practice on Friday. “We made a decision to keep him here to give us a better opportunity for him to play next week.”"
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The Jaguars could also use tight end, Nick O’Leary, in the passing game. O’Leary caught his first touchdown as a Jaguars last week from rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew. The only other wide receivers on the current roster are C.J. Board and Michael Walker.
With three games left on the schedule and the Jaguars out of the AFC playoff race, it is important, as Marrone pointed out, that the players and coaching staff know they are auditioning for next season. The current five-game losing streak has put everyone in the organization under a microscope.
"“That’s the way I addressed it,” Marrone said. “If you don’t go in there and address the elephant in the room … really, what are you doing? In these types of situations, what we’re in, it’s not a secret. … The one thing about this league is nothings for certain. If they’re doing that (not giving maximum effort), it’s going to jeopardize their living – whether it’s coaches, myself or the players or anyone else around the program.“I just try to be straight and honest, and that’s the way it is.”"
The Jaguars will try to beat the Raiders in their final home game in Oakland before the team moves to Las Vegas next season.