WR Christian Kirk takes pride in being Jaguars’ go-to guy on third downs

Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Christian Kirk (13) at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Matt Pendleton-USA TODAY Sports /

Wide receiver Christian Kirk was one of the Jaguars’ biggest acquisitions in free agency and he showed a small sample of what he brings to the Jags’ offense in the loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 2 of the 2022 NFL Preseason.

Right off the bat, Kirk caught the first pass Trevor Lawrence threw to him, one for a 13-yard gain, and finished the game with five receptions for 54 yards. Had the second-year quarterback not missed him in a couple of throws, his numbers would have been even better.

This was the first time Kirk suited up for the preseason, having missed the game against the Cleveland Browns in Week 1 after rolling his ankle in practice. After the loss to the Steelers, the former Texas A&M Auggie met with the local media and spoke about what it means to him to be Lawrence’s go-to guy on third downs.

"The most important down, it’s something I take pride in. When my number’s called, I gotta be there for him, I gotta get open and make those plays, so whenever the coaches call my number, especially in third down, definitely the intensity and emphasis starts to rise and just make sure that we execute where we’re suppose to be and be there for Trevor."

Kirk believes the team has been effective on third-down situations throughout training camp and notes that head coach Doug Pederson “has done a good job of putting a point of emphasis on it. He goes on to say that there’s still work to be done, but “likes where the offense is right now”.

A second-round pick by the Arizona Cardinals in 2018, Kirk logged a career-best 77 receptions for 982 yards with five touchdowns last year. Even though he wasn’t a true No. 1 receiver throughout most of his tenure in the desert, he thrived in that role last year when an injury to DeAndre Hopkins forced him to step into the spotlight. Here’s Kirk’s full exchange with the local media.

Christian Kirk has been everything the Jaguars expected so far

Christian Kirk quickly developed a connection with Trevor Lawrence and shined in most of training camp, often making plays when called upon. Despite the fact that he isn’t a bonafide wide receiver in the mold of Davante Adams or Justin Jefferson, he should give the Jaguars a reliable target in key situations.

Last season, Kirk find the most success when he lined up in the slot but the Jaguars’ coaching staff will move him around in order to look for potential mismatches. This will in turn could help him cross the 1,000-yard mark for the first time in his NFL career.

Having said that, it’s hard to envision Kirk registering more than 1,100 receiving yards. Not because he’s not talented enough but rather because Trevor Lawrence will also target Zay Jones and Marvin Jones Jr.

While Kirk has yet to take a single snap in the regular season, he’s constantly shown he’s the difference-maker the Jags believed he is when they gave him a top-market deal earlier this year.

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