4 Jaguars who need a good performance vs. Buccaneers
Roster cuts due by 4 p.m. Saturday
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Thursday night in Tampa, it's the last chance for some of the players to prove themselves to the Jaguars and the rest of the NFL as the final preseason game typically focuses on the bottom-of-the-roster guys who are fighting for jobs. Don't expect to see many of the Jaguars starters play at all. But for the backups, tomorrow's game could be life-changing.
The Jaguars currently have 90 players on the roster. After roster cuts on Saturday, they'll be down to 53 on the active roster and 10 on the practice squad. That means that for at least 27 players, Thursday night will be their last game in a Jaguars uniform. With playing time for the starters likely to be extremely limited Thursday, the preseason finale becomes vitally important for guys fighting for roster spots. Here are four players who could use a big performance against the Buccaneers:
Last year, Mickens burst onto the scene as a punt returner and was forced into action as a wide receiver due to injuries at the position. Mickens and Rashad Greene have both performed well returning punts, and both could take the opportunity created by Marqise Lee's injury. Barring injuries, the Jaguars active roster will certainly include receivers Donte Moncrief, Keelan Cole, Dede Westbrook and DJ Chark. How many more will be on the roster? If Mickens makes a couple of plays in the passing game, he should solidify himself on the active roster. If he slips, Greene could get the spot. There is a possibility that the Jaguars would keep six receivers in the final cuts, depending on decisions at other positions.
Smoot has yet to play in a preseason game this year and he has been limited by multiple injuries during the off-season and training camp. The former third-round pick is listed as a third-string defensive end, behind Calais Campbell and Taven Bryan at the big end position. While Bryan has been used at defensive tackle as well, Smoot really has just the one position to play, so he needs to show something to the coaches on Thursday if he is to earn a spot on the final 53.
Fowler did not play in the first half in the third preseason game against the Falcons, and didn't he make much of a splash and was not credited with a tackle. He missed the second preseason game against the Vikings when he was suspended for a fight in practice. Fowler, who is entering the final season of his contract with the Jaguars, could be on the trading block. If he doesn't play at all Thursday, it would raise some eyebrows.
The Jaguars' swing tackle from 2017 has had his struggles in the preseason. Cam Robinson and Jeremy Parnell will be the starters on the offensive line, but how many backup tackles will be retained? William Poehls has been used quite a bit and has shown some improvement. Rookie Will Richardson has more improvement to show. He could be destined for the practice squad.
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