Good news came down in Duval today as Jacksonville Jaguars receiver DJ Chark Jr. was cleared to play on Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Chark was previously listed as dealing with chest/back issues, however, he was not listed on today’s final injury report, cleared to go.
Throughout practice this week, Chark was seen wearing a red jersey, typically warn by the team’s quarterbacks, to signify to the defense he is “off limits”, no one can hit or touch him. This was done in an abundance of caution in an effort to keep him healthy and ready to go for Sunday.
“I think obviously it’s a big lift to get someone like DJ [Chark Jr.] [back],” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said on Friday.
“Not only [with] what he can do on the field, but there’s a lot of things that he does on the sideline and his leadership and just the way he pushes everyone around him and tries to make everyone around him better. Again, anytime you have players like that coming back, it’s good. It’s going to help your football team.”
While Chark will be available, which is very important for the team’s success this week, center Brandon Linder (knee) will miss his second-straight game, unable to practice at all this week leading up to the game. In his stead, center/guard Tyler Shatley will once again take the helm at center for the second-straight week.
The only other player who has been ruled out for the Jaguars for this weekend’s game is defensive tackle Daniel Ekuale (ankle). Ekuale was called up from the team’s practice squad last week.
The only other decision the team will have to make this week will be at kicker. With starting place kicker Josh Lambo on the team’s reserve/injured list, the Jaguars turned to rookie Brandon Wright, however, he was waived/injured shortly following the team’s loss against the Dolphins.
Instead, the team has brought in two new kickers, former Bills kicker Stephen Hauschka, who was signed to the 53-man roster, and former Giants kicker Aldrick Rosas, who was signed to the team’s practice squad. Hauschka, however, has been dealing with a knee injury that has left him limited and listed as questionable.
If Hauschka is unable to go, the Jaguars will turn to Rosas as a player the team can call up on gameday to the active/inactive roster shortly prior to kickoff, part of the league’s new rules in roster flexibility due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The Jaguars are entering the game relatively healthy, and will hope to move to 2-2 on the season. For the Bengals, one of the key players who will miss Sunday’s game is defensive tackle Geno Atkins, their most consistent player in the middle of the defense.