Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Playoffs Worth Waiting for; TE Lewis the Only Jaguar Still on Roster from Last Postseason Team. He's Contributing Just as Much

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Playoffs Worth Waiting for; TE Lewis the Only Jaguar Still on Roster from Last Postseason Team. He's Contributing Just as Much

Article excerpt

Byline: Ryan O'Halloran

Justifiably so after last week's win over Seattle, Jaguars linebacker Paul Posluszny was called to the center of the locker room to break the team down, a recognition of the first winning season of his NFL career.

Tight end Marcedes Lewis would have also been an appropriate choice.

The longest-tenured Jaguars player (12th year) is the only man remaining from the Jaguars' last playoff team in 2007. That drought can end Sunday with a win over Houston.

The best part for Lewis: He is playing a role in the winning.

Lewis has played in all 13 games, more than in four of the previous five years.

He leads the Jaguars with five touchdown catches, more than he had in 2014-16 combined (three).

And he remains a blocking force - only 6 1/ 2 "bad" rush plays in the last 12 games (he had 3 1/2 in the opener).

Reflecting earlier this week on the prospect of playing in the postseason again, Lewis was either hiding his excitement or truly waiting until its official to express joy.

"It's hard to gauge it," Lewis said. "It's a mixture of knowing where we've been, knowing where we are now and knowing there is still a long way to go."

Where Lewis has been with the Jaguars: One ownership change, two in-season coaching firings, six starting quarterbacks and eight losing seasons.

Where Lewis is now with the Jaguars: Blocking for rookie tailback Leonard Fournette, part of the team's best 13-game start in 10 years, starting on a team that could win a division title for the first time in 18 years.

"Nobody is overzealous or celebrating too much," Lewis said. "We're just focused on winning the next game."

The next game will be No. 168 of his career (start No. 155). Lewis has re-emerged this year as an every-down player after the Julius Thomas Experiment in 2015-16 failed miserably and expensively. The same role was envisioned entering training camp because of Mychal Rivera's signing. But he broke his hand and was placed on injured reserve.

That placed the onus back on Lewis.

Block on first down.

Run a route on second down.

Help out in pass protection on third down.

And then do it all again.

Lewis has played at least 50 snaps in 12 of the Jaguars' 14 games.

"He's done an outstanding job," coach Doug Marrone said.

Lewis had no catches in the first two games (only four targets), which forced the natural whisper: Can he no longer get open?

Lewis answered "No!" emphatically with three touchdowns against Baltimore in Week 3. He also caught touchdowns at Indianapolis and Cleveland, part of a 19-catch, 265-yard season.

Lewis had no catches last week against Seattle (one drop), but Marrone was pleased with his play.

"As far as end-line play and physicality and winning the match-ups, I thought it was probably his best game," Marrone said. …

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