Second-year wide receiver Marqise Lee was used sparingly in the Jaguars' week-two win against Miami. Lee amassed 27 yards on two catches and 12 rushing yards in his season debut.
Lee appeared healthy and rust-free in his limited on-field action, which is remarkable considering he hasn't had a full-speed practice in over a month and a half. Marqise didn't light the field on fire like Allen Robinson did on Sunday, but he flashed his speed and field-stretching ability in several different situations.
Stretching the field is a huge point of emphasis for a Jaguars' offense looking to create separation for it's young receivers this season. Lee, when healthy, is a weapon that can displace the opposing secondary and gift Blake Bortles with opportunities to spread the ball around in Greg Olson's easy-read offense.
Likewise, Marqise has always been a natural vertical threat. Against Lee, defensive backs are forced to play it safe by sitting overtop. Not wanting to give up the burner, DBs often allow Marqise space to cut underneath and slip inside. Lee took advantage of this scenario twice against Miami.
Here's the first of the two occasions:
Marqise Lee lines up wide left -- his route is in red. The cornerback plays off.
As Marqise explodes up field, the cornerback wastes no time getting his hips around. He's trying to stay above the streak.
As Marqise cuts along the X-axis, the CB's momentum still has him traveling in the Y direction. It doesn't take a mathlete to uncover the issue here.
Blake Bortles, facing a little pressure, overthrows Lee. Marqise had the position, but the Jaguars couldn't capitalize.
Later in the game, during the Jaguars' game-winning drive, Bortles connects with Lee in a similar situation.
Lee now lines up on the left side. He's going to attack the zone across the middle.
Lee once again takes his defender deep. The corner can't react to Lee's cut, and Marcedes Lewis sucks in the linebacker. Bortles recognizes this.
Blake hits Lee right in the numbers, and the Jaguars pick up a big chunk of yards at a time when they need it most.
Lee isn't the only receiver in the world that can push and pull a defense, but he is a valuable component to a Jaguars passing attack that utilizes every single part of the field.
When the Jaguars line up Marqise Lee opposite of Allen Robinson, the offense threatens a deep passing attack that isn't as convincing with Allen Hurns split out wide. This isn't to say that Lee is a better receiver than Hurns, or that Hurns can't stretch a defense. But being able to utilize several different receivers for several different roles forces an opposing defense to make tough decisions and counter.
One of Allen Robinson's big plays on Sunday arrived in a situation where Lee was split out to the other side of the field.
Here's the set-up:
Gus Bradley wanted the Jaguars' offense to be more aggressive against the Dolphins, and this is a great example of what he was looking for. One of the Dolphins' safeties gets sucked into the run-like appearance of the Jaguars' formation. He steps closer to the line of scrimmage. Lee is lined up at the bottom of the screen, A-Rob at the top.
At the snap, both receivers push up-field. There is now only one safety back to provide help for two threatening receivers.
Blake looks in Lee's direction first, baiting the lone deep safety with his eyes.
Without hesitation, Bortles shifts his gaze to Robinson. Blake slings it.
The safety gets stuck in the middle of the field as he tries to decipher Blake's decision. A-Rob gets an opportunity at a 50-50 ball, and he wins easily. 53-yd field-stretching gain.
Moving forward, it's tough to predict what kind of role Marqise Lee will uncover. Lee isn't the kind of receiver that demands a defensive game-plan, and he probably never will be, but he is a speed-guy that demands attention. As his snaps are increased, Lee can make a great situational contribution to the Jaguars' passing attack this season.
Above all, Lee faces the task of staying healthy and remaining a position where he can provide for his team. Marqise has always been able to add a spark to the Jags offense when healthy, but has rarely been 100% during his short career.
Still, it was great seeing Marqise making a couple of plays on Sunday. He played calm and collected within his limited opportunities and displayed no signs of rust or injury.
"It felt good; I'm 100 percent," Lee stated after his first performance of the season.