JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Jaguars receiver Allen Robinson is gaining contract leverage while on crutches.
The Jaguars (2-2) are tied for the most dropped passes in the AFC with seven, including a costly one by Marqise Lee in last week’s overtime loss at the New York Jets.
Lee is tied for the NFL lead with four drops. Allen Hurns is averaging a career-low 11.6 yards a catch. And rookie Keelan Cole has just four receptions on 15 targets. The receiving corps’ struggles are surely helping Robinson, who sustained a season-ending knee injury in the opener and is in the final year of his rookie deal.
Coach Doug Marrone said Wednesday he might consider other options at the position, including possibly getting recently signed receivers Max McCaffrey and Jaelen Strong on the field Sunday at Pittsburgh (3-1).
“I think that’s something we all have to look at when you don’t get that type of production,” Marrone said. “We had opportunities, and for some reason, a breakdown or things of that nature. We just have to do a better job there. But I think you never stop continuing to look at options, especially when you’re not getting the results that you want.”
Lee took all the blame for what happened against the Jets.
He was open in the flat on a third-and-3 play from New York’s 43-yard line and let a perfect pass slip through his fingers. Instead of picking up a first down in overtime and setting up a potential game-winning field goal attempt, the Jaguars punted and ended up losing 23-20 a few series later.
“Catch the ball,” Lee said Wednesday. “I’m hard on myself, very hard. I know I should have caught the ball, but that’s really about it. I’m not stressed right now. After that first day, I was pretty much over it.
“I mean, it happens. If you’re a person that thinks it don’t happen, I mean, you’re an idiot. It happens. Unfortunately, you don’t want it to happen at that time, but it happens. If I was the type of person to sit back and keep worrying about it, I can promise you numerous drops after that. But I let it go, so I should be fine.”
There’s no doubt Jacksonville is still trying to figure out how to play without Robinson, whose penchant for catching 50-50 balls down the sideline was as integral to the offense as running rookie Leonard Fournette between the tackles.
Robinson caught 201 passes for 2,831 yards and 22 touchdowns in three seasons. His size and physicality create daunting matchups for defenses, especially down the field.
Without him, the Jaguars are one of four teams without a passing play of at least 40 yards this season. Lacking big-play ability at the position has allowed opposing defenses to stack the line of scrimmage and focus on Fournette .
“There’s definitely an impact of A-Rob being out on what we do, obviously because of his ability and what he can do,” Bortles said. “There are things we are asking guys to do to try and compensate for that, things we’re asking them to do differently. We know what A-Rob could have done, what he can do, how he can do down the field and attack and go up and high-point balls. That adds a different element to your team and your offense.
“Not having him, we’ve got to kind of find different ways to get the same result.”