HURNs, BENN OUT, FOURNETTE, OMAMEH, PARNELL, BROWN QUESTIONABLE - JAGS WON'T NEED THEM TO BEAT LOWLY BROWNS
The Jaguars could be a lot healthier than they currently are -- especially on the offensive side of the ball.
Their second biggest receiving threat Allen Hurns will miss the game with a sprained ankle. So will Arrelious Benn, who is a valuable special teamer and reserve wide receiver. That leaves Marqise Lee, Keelan Cole, Jaydon Pickens, and most likely Dede Westbrook to pick up the slack at receiver. Lee has been the Jaguars most consistent receiver all year, while Keelan Cole has been impressive as of late. Jaydon Pickens, whose primary role for the Jaguars is punt returner, also made a play at WR last week and could be asked to do a lot more against the Browns. The Jaguars have until 4pm Saturday to activate Dede Westbrook from Injured Reserve - most, including myself, expect the Jaguars to do so. They need all the help they can get at WR this week. Jaelen Strong also has an opportunity to play in his first game as a Jaguar since being picked up by the team earlier this season.
At running back the Jaguars could be without Leonard Fournette, who is dealing with an ankle injury. Fournette played in week 10 against the Chargers, but didn't look like the regular Leonard Fournette that we've all grown to love. He was a limited participant in practice on Wednesday and Thursday, but was held out of practice Friday. If he can't go this Sunday that would leave Chris Ivory, TJ Yeldon, and Corey Grant to carry the load. That group of runners is more than capable and actually performed very well when Fournette was out for two consecutive games in week seven (week eight was a bye) and week nine.
The offensive line has a couple of question marks on the injury front, too. Patrick Omameh and Jermey Parnell are both listed as questionable with lower body injuries. Parnell is dealing with a knee while Omameh nurses a quad. The Jaguars would like to have the services of two of their starting offensive line man, but there backups have been, at the very worst, serviceable when called upon. Josh Wells would start in place of Parnell, while Tyler Shatley would likely start in place of Omameh.
On defense the Jaguars are relatively healthy - only Blair Brown, who has been mostly a non-factor to this point in his rookie season, is listed as questionable. Brown is dealing with a hamstring injury.
There are a number of big players in big spots questionable for the Jaguars on the offensive side of the ball. Good thing for the Jaguars their week 11 opponent is the lowly Cleveland Browns. The Browns, even if they are motivated by comments made by Tahsaun Gipson about "hanging 40 on them" or Dede Westbrook stating he wants to go for 200 yards in his debut, just don't have enough talent to challenge the Jaguars this week.
The Browns starting QB, rookie DeShone Kizer, has thrown 3 times the amount of interceptions than he has touchdown passes. The Browns are 0-9. When playing against teams that currently have winning records this season the Browns have lost by an average of double digits. In total the Browns have a point differential of -97. The only team worse in point differential is the Indianapolis Colts. The Browns only real threat this season has been using Duke Johnson as a gadget player. The Jaguars will be sure to key in on the speedy running back/receiver.
On the other side of the ball the Browns boast an impressive run defense, allowing just 3.1 yards per carry. But their pass defense is the worst in football. With two safeties that can't cover, the Browns are in big trouble when teams attack them downfield. The Browns have allowed 19 TD passes to just 6 interceptions this season. Even worse they just lost the heart and soul of their defense for the season - Jaime Collins suffered a torn MCL in week 10. Following Collins' injury the Browns were gashed by the Lions on the ground and through the air.
The Jaguars should let their players rest, if need be, instead of forcing them into actions against the Browns. The Jaguars don't need Leonard Fournette, or the rest of their questionable starters, to risk further injury by suiting up in Cleveland. Let your offensive stars rest, if they are not ready, and handle business against the worst team in the NFL.