Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Second-Year Trio under the Spotlight; Robinson, Hurns, Lee (If Healthy) May Finally Solve Team's WR Issues

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Second-Year Trio under the Spotlight; Robinson, Hurns, Lee (If Healthy) May Finally Solve Team's WR Issues

Article excerpt

Byline: Ryan O'Halloran

Is it finally time for the Jaguars to end their nine-year streak without a 1,000-yard receiver?

"It's not beyond the realm of happening," receivers coach Jerry Sullivan said. "I'm not going to make any predictions, but if we take care of our business, things will take care of itself in that light."

To that end, Allen Robinson, Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee have been placed under a spotlight since the Jaguars' pursuit of Randall Cobb never reached the open market because he opted to re-sign with Green Bay and the team passed on Amari Cooper with the third overall pick.

The Jaguars are expected to make Julius Thomas the focal point of their passing game, but it's tough for a tight end to reach 1,000 yards; there have been only 35 such seasons in league history.

That means the Jaguars' second-year trio must deliver. Lee and Robinson were second-round picks and Hurns an undrafted revelation.

Robinson and Hurns are the depth chart's top two receivers and were impressive throughout training camp. A hamstring injury derailed Lee's preseason.

The Jaguars and Oakland have the current longest streak without a 1,000-yard receiver.

Jimmy Smith gained 1,023 yards for the Jaguars in 2005, ending a run of nine times in 11 years when the franchise had at least one player reach the plateau. In four years, Smith and Keenan McCardell both had at least 1,000 yards.

The closest during the drought was Cecil Shorts, who had 979 yards in 2012 and missed the final two games with a concussion.

Twenty-four of the league's 32 teams have had a 1,000-yard receiver in either 2013 or last year.

Robinson, Hurns and Lee showed potential last year, accounting for 31 of the Jaguars' 60 "explosive" pass plays (at least 16 yards). Hurns had 13, Lee 10 and Robinson eight.

Robinson is the best candidate to reach 1,000 yards. He had 48 catches for 548 yards through 10 games last year when he was shut down because of a foot injury that required surgery.

"I'm pretty comfortable with our scheme and concepts," Robinson said. "I'm just trying to put it all together every day and be consistent. I'm just trying to hone in on the techniques - the footwork and the route-running - to be a great player in this league."

Robinson can beat teams in several ways. He can turn a shallow cross route into a 30-yard gain, out-juke his man on a post corner or run past him straight down the field.

"[Offensive coordinator Greg Olson's] offense has a lot of diversity to it, a lot more than we've had," Sullivan said.

Hurns led the Jaguars with six touchdowns and totaled 677 yards on 51 catches.

"He was our Mr. Reliable last year; he's awesome," quarterback Blake Bortles said. "And he's only getting better."

Lee is the wild card. Can he get healthy? Can he stay healthy? …

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