Considering the extremely physical nature of football, injuries are a big deal in the NFL. Here’s a breakdown from this week’s injury reports as the 4-8 Jacksonville Jaguars prepare to face the 7-5 Tennessee Titans.
It sounds like the team was being precautionary when it held Andre Cisco out of last week’s contest. Doug Pederson told media on Monday, “He’ll be day-to-day again, he was good. I just didn’t want to put him in a situation where it could set him back further. He’s trending in the right direction, so it was just a medical decision yesterday to keep him out and hopefully we get him back this week.”
Cisco was limited throughout practice this week, and if he’s held out again, Andrew Wingard will start in his place for the second time this year. “Dewey” is in his fourth season out of Wycoming and has 23 starts under his belt, though his past performances against Derrick Henry don’t inspire much confidence.
Wingard had minimal interest in tackling Derrick Henry on Sunday. Routinely dove for legs rather than attempting to match physically and wrap up— Gus Logue (@gus_logue) October 11, 2021
It's a daunting task but such is life in the NFL. More aggressive and urgent safety play may have stopped multiple 1D & TD runs pic.twitter.com/CtjvaoDU8p
Pederson also talked positively about Trevor Lawrence’s toe injury. From Monday: “It’s really not the knee. It’s actually the foot and the toe area. Knee was checked out today, he’s good there. No issues. Obviously sore from the hit, but we’re still getting some more testing done on his foot and toe area... I think things are trending in the right direction.”
Lawrence practiced for the first time this week on Thursday.
Doug Pederson says Trevor Lawrence will practice some today. Sounds like the expectation is for him to play Sunday in Nashville.— John Shipley (@_John_Shipley) December 9, 2022
Five-year veteran C.J. Beathard would take the reigns should Lawrence be held out of Sunday’s game. In garbage time last week, the former 49er completed two of three passes for six yards in four snaps.
Zay Jones was limited with a chest injury this week, but he carried the same questionable designation going into the last game and played 82% of snaps. He should be good to go against the Titans, though hopefully he’ll have a performance more reminiscent of Week 12 (14 targets, 11 catches, 145 yards) than Week 13 (seven targets, two catches, 16 yards).
Zay Jones dropped 60% of his targets yesterday per PFF— Jordan de Lugo (@jordandelugo) December 5, 2022
Jacksonville's only ruled-out player going into the weekend is Chad Muma. The third-round rookie started each of the past two weeks ahead of first-round rookie Devin Lloyd -- but after Muma suffered a late ankle injury against Detroit, Lloyd will have a chance to reclaim his job as Jacksonville’s starting weakside linebacker.
Lloyd was previously benched in Week 10 against Pat Mahomes and the Chiefs, but this week he’ll face a whole different beast in Henry and Tennessee’s run game. The Jaguars won't have much of a chance if Lloyd lacks awareness and loses confidence in Nashville.
Though Muma’s injury adds another hole to Jacksonville’s roster, that’s nothing compared to Tennessee’s injury bug.
Offensive starters Ryan Tannehill, Ben Jones, Nate Davis, and Henry aren’t carrying an injury designation for the game but were limited in practice. Meanwhile, Treylon Burks and C.J. Board are out, leaving Tennessee with a receiver room of Robert Woods, Nick Westbrook Ikhine, and Cody Hollister.
Even worse for the Titans, key defensive starters Denico Autry, Kristian Fulton, and David Long Jr. have all been ruled out. Plus, Jeffrey Simmons and Teair Tart are questionable.
Tennessee’s myriad of injuries should keep this game within reach for the Jaguars, but it’ll be imperative that the Jaguars don’t start slow and play their way into a big Derrick Henry performance. Jacksonville’s 10.3 points per first half this season ranks 20th in the league.