Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Notebook; Return Game Has Been a Non-Factor So Far

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars Notebook; Return Game Has Been a Non-Factor So Far

Article excerpt

Byline: Ryan O'Halloran

The Jaguars enter Sunday's game at Indianapolis ranked last in punt returns (2.2-yard average) and 28th in kick returns (17.1-yard average).

A lack of chances or a lack of execution on the part of the returners and blockers?

Coach Doug Marrone chose the latter on Wednesday.

"Lack of opportunities for sure in the kickoff return game," Marrone said. "[On punt returns], we had Marqise Lee back there [at the start of the season] and a lot of teams are nervous about him so they [were] directionally kicking it or they [were] kicking it high."

The Jaguars' longest punt return is seven yards and their longest kick return is 28 yards. Opponents have punted 31 times but the Jaguars have only six returns. The Jaguars have 11 fair catches and six punts have gone out of bounds.

Lee had only two returns for a combined nine yards. Max McCaffrey has handled punt returns the last two games because of Lee's rib injury and has one return for no gain.

"Max is back there and he's really an unknown to people and now people are just going ahead [and punting away] to switch the field [position] on us," Marrone said.

On kick returns, the Jaguars have only seven returns and opponents have 19 touchbacks.

"Teams are kicking it deep or not putting it in the right places where we want it for the return that we have called," kick returner Corey Grant said. "You always want to bring one out, but you have to be smart and make the right decisions."

Grant said he is "very anxious," for a chance to establish the Jaguars' kick return game.

"I'm always hoping, 'Kick it short, kick it short so I can bring it out,' " Grant said. "It's going to happen. When that time comes, I just have to be ready."


Sitting out Wednesday's practice were Lee (knee), tailback Leonard Fournette (right ankle), center Brandon Linder (illness), cornerback A.J. Bouye (hamstring) and free safety Tashaun Gipson (neck). Fournette was injured in Sunday's loss to the Rams. He had his ankle taped and was available to return to the game but did not.

"He was ready to go back into the game, but there is a lot of adrenaline involved," Marrone said. …

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