And although the circumstances under which the Jaguars’ rookie cornerback likely will make his first NFL start Monday came about very suddenly and just as unexpectedly, Rutland and his teammates in the Jaguars’ secondary agree on a couple of important issues.
He has to be ready for the opportunity, and there is every confidence he will be.
“I’m just as ready as any starter has been in the past,” Rutland said Saturday afternoon as the Jaguars (3-8) prepared to play the San Diego Chargers (4-7) at EverBank Field Monday at 8:30 p.m.
“That’s just because of the way coaches prepare players around here. They don’t prepare you as a backup player. They prepare you as if tomorrow you’ll be in the game. That’s what we’ve done all year long, and I think it’s really helped me in my preparation for this week and for the weeks to come. “
Rutland, one of three undrafted rookie free agents to make the Jaguars’ opening day roster this season, has played in 11 games, playing 17 snaps against Cincinnati and 15 snaps this past week against the Texans.
Will Middleton was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury, and Jaguars interim coach Mel Tucker said Saturday Rutland is the most likely choice to start in his place Monday.
“It’s not really being thrown into the fire,” six-year veteran cornerback
“He’s been working toward that since high school football, so there’s nothing to be nervous about.”
Youboty is expected to start opposite Rutland Monday, with
“It doesn’t affect us,” Jaguars safety
Of Rutland, Landry said, “I’m very confident. Once he gets out there, he’s not going to be big-eyed or anything like that. He’s been in a few of the games. I expect him to perform well.”
Rutland, who played collegiately with Jaguars rookie quarterback
“It’s something I never really imagined happening to me,” he said. “You watch on TV and you’re like, ‘Man, look at that.’ For it to be that way, I’m truly blessed and I’m excited about it. I’m not going to be overwhelmed by that, or try not to. As soon as you’re out there, you’ve got to play the game.”
Also around the Jaguars Saturday:
*Knighton said while some fans have asked him why he would want to work to come back with a team five games under .500 and likely out of playoff contention, “It’s not about the record, anyway. You develop a bond with your group and it’s about being a professional. I signed a contract to be a professional, not to say, ‘We don’t have anything to play for.’ After a while, it’s not about the check. It’s about the guys you play with.”