Injuries are an unpleasant part of football but they sometimes pave the way for players to showcase their talent off the bench. Such is the case of wide receiver Parker Washington, who was called upon when Christian Kirk went down while hauling in a 26-yard reception on the loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. With Kirk expected to miss significant time with a core injury, expect the Jacksonville Jaguars to expand Washington's role.
Washington, a sixth-round pick by the Jags in this year's draft, saw extended playing time for the first time this season against the Bengals, playing 53 offensive snaps and catching six passes for 61 yards on the 34-31 loss to Cincy.
A training camp standout, the former Penn State Washington was a healthy scratch the first three games of the season, but it's understandable. There was no room for him in Jacksonville's crowded receiving corps. He made his NFL debut against the Atlanta Falcons in Week 4 but suffered a knee injury that landed him on Injured Reserve.
Washington returned for Week 11 but he was mostly relegated to returning punts the last two games. It wasn't until Kirk got hurt that he got playing time on offense, and he'll most likely have his number called against the Cleveland Browns. Offensive coordinator Press Taylor, for one, believes Parker Washington can handle a big workload.
"Parker's a guy from the jump, mentally he can handle a lot," Taylor said in an exchange with the local media Thursday. "It's different when the balls are flying, you've got 10 seconds in the huddle, you've got to get to the line, you've got to execute, things are changing quickly like that. But he handled himself pretty well out there. It helps having Evan [Engram], and Zay [Jones], guys that have experience in the system that can help you get lined up and move around but Parker did a good job for himself."
The Jaguars could (and should) lean on Parker Washington in Christian Kirk's absence
At 5-10, Washington is better suited to play in the slot, which makes him the ideal replacement for Kirk during his absence. 393 (65.8 percent) of Kirk's 597 offensive snaps this season were inside, and Washington could step in that role. When fellow wide receiver Zay Jones missed time with a knee injury, Jamal Agnew and later Tim Jones stepped in his place because their size was a better match for the boundaries.
Back in training camp, wide receiver coach Chad Hall praised Washington's ability to create yards after catch. It was on full display against the Cincinnati Bengals, and it could come in handy during Christian Kirk's absence.
With Kirk, and Trevor Lawrence expected to miss time, Parker Washington will be one of many players who'll need to step up for the Jacksonville Jaguars when they face the Cleveland Browns in Week 14.