The Jacksonville Jaguars did not play well in their first Monday Night Football game since 2011. Leading up to this contest, the Jaguars defense was the steadying force for the team. The Cincinnati Bengals exposed the Jaguars defense all night – with a backup quarterback. Jake Browning, making his second start, completed 32 of 37 passes for 354 yards, one touchdown, and no interceptions. But the fact that Browning looked like a Hall of Famer for a night was not even the worst thing that happened to the Jaguars. That honor goes to the Trevor Lawrence injury to his right ankle. He was stepped on by left tackle Walker Little, went down immediately, slammed his helmet on the ground, and had to be helped off the field.
The Trevor Lawrence Injury Is Less Severe Than it Looked
Christian Kirk Is Out For a While
Christian Kirk’s injury against the Bengals may be the worst of all. Kirk is on IR, and many believe that he will not even be back for the playoffs. Kirk is the Jaguars best receiver. He makes plays at crucial moments and he has a rapport with Lawrence that nobody else on the team has. He is one of the best slot receivers in the NFL and opens up the entire offense when he is playing well. Kirk will be missed and the team can only hope he is back before January.
There Is a Strong Chance Lawrence Will Play
Despite his injury, Trevor Lawrence has been on the practice field for the Jaguars all week. That fact alone does not mean he will suit up on Sunday, but it does seem likely he is ready to play. For those watching the game on Monday, Lawrence’s injury looked brutal. His leg bent beneath him after his tackle stepped on his foot. Lawrence slammed his helmet on the field in frustration and then hobbled back to the locker room. Initial reports, however, seem to indicate it was a high ankle sprain. High ankle sprains can keep players out for weeks at a time depending on the severity, but Lawrence looks ready to go. The only question at this point seems to be how limited he will be in his movement.
The Jaguars Lost Both of Their Left Tackles
Cam Robinson was placed on IR before the Monday night game marking the second year that he has dealt with injuries. The good news has been that their backup LT is Walker Little. When Little is in the game, he is usually rated as high or higher than Robinson. Little will not be available for the game against the Browns. He hurt his hamstring early in the Monday night contest and played through the injury for a while before sitting. Little could miss more time, but he will at least miss the Browns game on Sunday. As has been seen with Tyson Campbell, hamstring injuries are difficult to shake. The third-string LT will be third-year pro Blake Hance out of Northwestern. He is listed as a backup guard but will play LT this Sunday and giving protection to an injured quarterback.
Tre Herndon and Tyson Campbell Could Both Miss Time
The Jaguars defense has been the team’s biggest strength this year. With a backup quarterback starting for the Bengals Monday night, most people expected the Jaguars to win easily. Instead, Browning played like an all-pro and the Jaguars defense gave up big play after big play. With Tre Herndon out again in concussion protocol and Tyson Campbell still trying to shake a nagging hamstring injury, the Browns game could be deja vu. The Browns quarterback room consists of Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Joe Flacco, and PJ Walker. But they will be facing a depleted Jaguars defensive backfield and a pass rush that struggles to get home unless your name is Josh Allen. The Jaguars should have the advantage, but with their No. 1 cornerback not back to 100% and their slot corner out Sunday, this should be an interesting matchup.
Main Photo: Corey Perrine – USA Today Sports