Wide receiver DJ Chark is ready to have another big season for the Jacksonville Jaguars offense in 2020.
If there is one player I am curious to see in Jay Gruden’s offense this season, it’s Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver DJ Chark. After a second year in the NFL where he caught 73 passes for 1,008 yards and eight touchdowns, how much more of a leap will the former LSU star take?
The progress Chark made last season validated the Jaguars’ decision to draft him. And while he is expected to be the “go-to” guy in the passing game, fans may not see the same kind of progress this season as they did a few months ago.
Chark met the media virtually on Friday, fielding questions about he hopes for a better season and his team to improve on their 6-10 record from 2019. It’s a different setting this time around as the team has begun training camp.
Chark surprised many with his improved route running and catching everything in sight on the practice last season.
This year, it’s expected that he continues that progress and build on it.
“Chark, entering his third NFL season and emerging as a leader on the Jaguars’ offense, spoke to media about those topics Friday as 2020 Training Camp continues,” John Oehser of Jaguars.com wrote.
“He also discussed leadership – and while he doesn’t covet the role, Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone left little doubt this week that Chark is a model teammate and player around whom the franchise is building.”
There have been plenty of changes to the roster in the past few months. Players are learning to work with each other. The culture is different. That could be a huge boost to a young roster looking to surprise a few teams along the way this season.
Chark’s chemistry with quarterback Gardner Minshew will continue to become a storyline to watch – because the two grew together last season. Having that kind of connection is a positive the Jaguars offense will want to develop even more.
“That’s my dog – on and off the field,” Chark said of his teammate.
The two could become one of the better pass-catch combinations in the AFC. Head coach Doug Marrone expects big things from his wide receiver, much like he talked about Josh Allen when he met with the media on Thursday.
“DJ was a guy that came out the first year and excelled on special teams. He might’ve been one of the best [special teams] players in the league. Then the following year he really did well playing the position we drafted him for in special teams, but if we said to go out there and be a gunner, he would do it. He would do whatever it takes to help the team.
“When players talk about that, it’s refreshing in an era where you see a lot of individualism.”
The Jaguars will also count on other wide receivers in the room. Veterans Chris Conley, Keelan Cole, and Dede Westbrook. Laviska Shenault and Collin Johnson were drafted this season to create size matchups for the passing game.
There is a chance this wide receiver group will be an underrated unit for the Jacksonville Jaguars this season. And playing with Minshew is something Chark is excited about once again this coming season.
“I love Gardner,” Chark said. “Anytime I have a suggestion or anything, he’s willing to listen. If he has a suggestion, I’m willing to listen. He worked with me on my strengths and my weaknesses. He’s a confident guy and a good guy to be around.”
In Other News:
Per Jaguars.com, “The Jaguars activated tight end Charles Jones and wide receiver Michael Walker from their Reserve/COVID-19 list Friday. They now have 84 players on the active roster, as well as tight end James O’Shaughnessy on the Active/Physically Unable to Perform list.”