With the loss of wide receiver Justin Blackmon to suspension for at least the remainder of the 2013 season, the Jaguars are losing a big chunk of their offense and play maker.
"I think that he is a difference maker. I think he definitely helped us, especially the Denver game. How can you argue the number of catches and yards he had," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said in his Monday press conference. "The last game he had four catches against San Francisco."
Thankfully for the Jaguars, they're finally getting healthy at the receiver position and have seen some of the guys who've been injured making their way back and contributing,
Players like Mike Brown.
Brown, who was dealing with a broken back (which wasn't nearly as bad as it sounds), returned to the lineup the past three weeks to the tune of 12 receptions for 212 yards and a touchdown. Brown was a star in training camp this season, after working for a year to transition from from quarterback to wide receiver. Brown missed four of the first five games of the season, but he's made his mark on his return.
Another player, who the Jaguars seem very intrigued by, is Stephen Burton. The Jaguars picked Burton up off waivers, but he hasn't played since Week 3 against the Seattle Seahawks, a game in which he suffered a concussion.
"That’s why we have a guy like (Stephen) Burton and he’s got to step up. We’ve always been intrigued by him. He’s 6-1, 220 pounds and 4.4 (forty-yard dash)," Bradley said on Monday, when asked how the team replaces Blackmon.
"We’ve been intrigued by him and we’ve been really developing him to see what he can do," Bradley continued. "He’s got an opportunity now along with the other guys so we’ve got an opportunity to see will those guys step up. I think that part of it right there because as I’ve challenged our coaches from the start our job is to develop the players we have in-house and to see them make strides."
In Burton's first two games, he picked up seven receptions for 65 yards and it appeared the Jaguars were trying to use him as an after-the-catch type of receiver, on dump offs and screens. As Bradley noted, he's a thick receiver, similar to Blackmon, but he also has some legit speed.