JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – After a 1-1 start, the Jaguars have a short week to prepare for the team’s only scheduled primetime game, Thursday night at home against the Miami Dolphins.
“It’s a Monday, but it’s really a Thursday,” said head coach Doug Marrone.
Coming off a 33-30 loss in Nashville to the Tennessee Titans, Marrone said that the team got good news on the injury front. Center Brandon Linder, who left Sunday’s game with a knee injury, will not be placed on the injured reserve list.
“We didn’t know if it was going to be serious or not, but we got good news on it," Marrone said. "He will not be placed on IR, we’ll just have to see how he’ll be on the short week.”
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Thought to be among the worst teams in the league before the season began, the Jaguars surprised the oddsmakers with an opening game win over the Indianapolis Colts before falling to the Titans. What has changed? In part, it’s the personality of the team brought on, in part, by major roster changes in the offseason.
The addition of Jay Gruden as offensive coordinator has already paid dividends.
Through two games, the Jaguars have scored 57 points, better than the best two-game stretch last season (the Jaguars scored 56 points against the lowly Jets and Bengals in consecutive weeks), and the best two-game stretch for the team since the 2017 season. The offensive explosion is due, in part, to Gardner Minshew’s development at quarterback, but also the variety of styles of players the Jaguars have to utilize on offense.
With Pro Bowl wide receiver DJ Chark complemented by versatile and powerful rookie Laviska Shenault, big target rookie Collin Johnson and the re-emerging downfield threat of Keelan Cole, the Jaguars are a more difficult team to plan for, and to stop.
“I think we just keep building,” Marrone said. “That’s where it’s fun. We have a bunch of different guys with different skill sets. You can put them in different spots, different places. That’s when it becomes enjoyable. You’re not just always just looking at your top guy and hoping that they don’t double covering. I think that’s where Gardner has done a good job, and Jay [Gruden] and [quarterbacks coach] Ben McAdoo. We feel real comfortable about all the guys we have.”
With a short week, the Jaguars will host the Dolphins (0-2), a team already under pressure to make a change at quarterback. Veteran Ryan Fitzpatrick has thrown every pass this season for the Miami as Tua Tagovailoa waits on the sidelines.
The Dolphins opened the season with a 21-11 loss at the Patriots, then followed it up with a 31-28 home loss on Sunday against the Bills.