Few if any teams in the NFL have been hit as hard by the Coronavirus pandemic this season as the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team was forced to send a total of 27 players to the appropriate reserve list over the last few days, including multiple starters in all three phases. At one point, the Jaguars had only 33 active players on their roster.
While the status of most players on reserve/Covid-19 remains up in the air heading into Sunday’s game against the New England Patriots, the team did get some reinforcements on Friday. As was announced by the Jaguars’ PR staff, seven players have been activated again.
The full list reads as follows:
DE/OLB Josh Allen
RB Travis Etienne Jr. (returns to injured reserve)
TE Luke Farrell
LB Myles Jack
WR Laviska Shenault Jr.
DE/OLB Jordan Smith
LB Damien Wilson
While first-round rookie Travis Etienne will not rejoin the 53-man squad — he remains on injured reserve and will not return this season — the other six players could play prominent roles against the Patriots.
Jacksonville’s linebacker corps in particular has seen a boost; Josh Allen, Myles Jack and Damien Wilson are all starter-level players at the position. Allen is the Jaguars’ sack leader, while Jack and Wilson are ranked first and second in playing time at the off-the-ball position. Fourth-round rookie Jordan Smith has not yet seen any snaps this year, but he might get an opportunity against New England given the circumstances.
Laviska Shenault Jr. and Luke Farrell, meanwhile, will help improve the depth on the offensive side of the ball. Shenault Jr. is ranked second on the team with 56 catches for 544 yards; Farrell offers the team another option behind more experienced tight ends James O’Shaughnessy and Kahale Warring (coincidentally two former Patriots).
Obviously, though, it remains to be seen how big of an impact any of them will have versus the Patriots. Still, seeing players return is good news for the Jaguars.
That said, the team also received some negative news on Friday. Starting cornerback Shaquill Griffin — the number one option at the position in terms of playing time — was sent to reserve/Covid-19. Additionally, defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi and defensive quality control coach Patrick Reilly are also currently unavailable for the game in New England due to Coronavirus protocols.