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Monday update: “Good start” for Westbrook

Posted Nov 20, 2017

HC Doug Marrone on Jaguars rookie WR Dede Westbrook’s NFL debut against Cleveland Sunday: “I was impressed; he’ll get better and better each time he’s out there”


JACKSONVILLE – So far for Dede Westbrook, so good.

That was Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone’s assessment of the Jaguars’ rookie wide receiver a day after his NFL debut.

“I thought it was a good start,” Marrone said Monday.

Westbrook, who led the NFL with 288 yards in the preseason, caught three passes for 35 yards in the Jaguars’ 19-7 victory at Cleveland Sunday. The fourth-round selection in the 2017 NFL Draft missed the season’s first nine games after September core-muscle surgery.

“I liked his effort,” Marrone said. “I thought he did a nice job in the blocking aspect. They (the Browns) were physical in the back end. I was impressed. He’ll get better and better each time he’s out there.”

Westbrook’s biggest reception Sunday was a 28-yarder in the second quarter that converted third-and-8 from the Jaguars 21. He also fumbled after a short reception, and had what appeared to be a drop later in the second quarter.

Westbrook could be key in the coming weeks. Wide receiver Allen Robinson is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained in Week 1, and wide receiver Allen Hurns missed Sunday with an ankle injury. With veteran Arrelious Benn (knee) also out for the season, Marqise Lee is the lone Jaguars receiver with more than 10 games of NFL experience.

Also on Monday:

*Marrone discussed a disputed third-quarter catch Sunday by Westbrook, a play that Marrone challenged only to have officials uphold the original incomplete call. While Westbrook appeared to have both feet in bounds, Marrone said officials told him the issue was whether or not Westbrook possessed the ball before stepping out of bounds. “It’s hard to tell on our tape, but I was told on the sideline that it wasn’t the feet; it was the actual catch,” Marrone said. “They told me the ball was moving.” …

*Marrone discussed several aspects of the offensive line, noting that while right tackle Jermey Parnell has missed the last two games his replacement – swing tackle Josh Wells – had perhaps his best game Sunday. “I was excited about that,” Marrone said. “I think J.P. is a good player, but I’m happy with how Josh played this week.” Marrone also discussed Chris Reed, who started at left guard Sunday with starter Patrick Omameh out with a groin injury. “I thought he was going against a very good, tough front seven,” Marrone said, noting that other than two holding penalties by Reed “I was happy with his play.” …

*Marrone also addressed the Jaguars’ lone giveaway Sunday, a lost fumble by quarterback Blake Bortles on a second-half sack. While ball security has been an issue for Bortles throughout his career, with Sunday being his third lost fumble of the season, Marrone attributed Sunday’s turnover to protection. “We have to do a better job on our assignments of picking things up,” Marrone said. “[Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey] came from behind and hit him (Bortles); he was an unblocked player that went by him. He (Bortles) did a good job of avoiding him. Then there was another player right in his face and he got hit from behind. We have seen [Bortles] make some plays. It is hard to talk to those guys about what play should you try to make and what plays you don’t try to make. We have to do a better job of protecting him and keeping him from having to avoid all that stuff when there is a lot of stuff going on around him.” …

*Marrone discussed the play of the interior of the defensive line since the bye week. That was when the Jaguars acquired nose tackle Marcell Dareus in a trade with the Buffalo Bills. The Jaguars have improved from 32nd to 16th in the NFL against the run in three games since the trade, but Marrone Monday said the entire defensive-tackle group is playing at a high level. “Since that bye week, I really think all three players inside have been playing better than they had earlier,” he said. “I think [three-technique tackle] Malik [Jackson] has really worked on straining, pushing, making plays in the run game, really working on the power aspect; he seems to be getting stronger as the year is going on. [Nose tackle] Abry Jones has been making more plays for us at the nose position. Marcell (Dareus) and Abry had about the same amount of snaps in the last game, and Malik played a little bit more because of the two-minute and nickel situations. I’m happy with the combination and with how all three of those guys are playing inside.” …

 

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