The Jacksonville Jaguars have suffered some tough injuries throughout the season at the wide receiver position, the latest with second round pick Allen Robinson hitting injured reserve with a foot injury. The Jaguars other second round pick, wide receiver Marqise Lee, also dealt with some minor injuries early in the season which could have contributed to his slow development.
In OTAs and preseason, Lee looked as if he could be a playmaker for the Jaguars, but it's yet to materialize as the former USC star has played just 190 snaps on the season with only 13 receptions.
"I’m not so sure," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley told reporters Monday when he was asked what happened to Lee between the preseason and now. "I know in talking to him I think we talked about having a culture where we limit anxiety, but I’m not so sure he didn’t have anxiety. It was just the newness. I know my conversations with him with the newness, what’s asked of him, dealing with injuries, just all of it and I think it just was a lot for him."
While Lee was the more explosive athlete out of the Jaguars young trio of wide receivers, those who watched closely knew it would be a bit of a slower transition for him in the NFL. That's typical of young wide receivers though, despite what this historic rookie class is doing.
"It’s a good question for him. I imagine seeing other guys progress and him being injured or not progressing as fast he put that on himself, but he’s doing a nice job now," Bradley continued. "Even today, signs were he slipped, he’s on the ground, he popped back up and made catches and catches it in the end zone. Before it would have been maybe he would have stayed on the ground or what happened. He’s not doing that. He’s showing his competitiveness. I think it’s just his mindset and he’s really taking advantage of this opportunity."
Wide receiver is one of the tougher college-to-pro transitions there is, but thankfully the Jaguars have had Robinson and Allen Hurns step up and be productive while Lee adjusts to the NFL game.
With Robinson out and some of the other injuries on offense, Lee is going to see a lot more playing time going forward. There's still time left in the final six games for him to have a productive rookie season, especially if the Jaguars can hit him on some explosive plays down the field.