JACKSONVILLE – In the end, it partly came down to need and numbers.
That's often the case when NFL teams make final 53-man roster decisions, and General Manager David Caldwell said that's how it was as the Jaguars reduced their roster to meet Saturday's 4 p.m. roster deadline.
"I think for us it came down to who is going to be active on game days," Caldwell Saturday shortly after the team announced the release of wide receiver Kerry Taylor, linebacker Nate Stupar, cornerback Jamell Fleming and safety Sherrod Martin.
"We have some injuries at certain positions where we went heavy at."
The moves put the Jaguars' roster at 54. Teams had until 4 p.m. Saturday to reduce rosters to 53, with the Jaguars receiving a roster exemption for wide receiver Ace Sanders, who will begin the season on a four-game suspension under the league's substance-abuse policy.
Teams may claim waived players and sign players to practice squads beginning Sunday.
Jaguars starting right tackle Austin Pasztor (hand) is out at least the first two weeks of the regular season. Caldwell said Saturday's moves reflected that, with 10 offensive linemen remaining on the roster, including rookies Luke Bowanko, Brandon Linder, Tyler Shatley and Josh Wells.
But Caldwell said if injuries were a reason for keeping 10 offensive linemen, the team's feelings about the four rookies were, too.
"We feel good about those four guys," Caldwell said. "They (the four rookie linemen) are everything that we want out of them in this building. Not just on the field; they're high-character guys, they love ball and they're very passionate."
The Jaguars on Friday had announced Shatley being released among 18 roster moves. Caldwell said the team planned to re-sign him to the practice squad but it became clear Friday night he would be claimed by another team if released.
"We just reversed course on it," Caldwell said. "We just have too much feeling for him and we didn't want to lose him. We thought about it and said, 'Where our team is at right now being a young team, we see somebody with a lot of promise that played his ass off during the preseason …'
"We just said, 'Let's figure out a way,' and we did."
Caldwell said he and Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley discussed Shatley extensively with offensive line coach Luke Butkus.
"Luke was dire that he did not want to lose him," Caldwell said.
Caldwell also noted the Jaguars kept 10 defensive linemen, a number that reflected the strong feeling about the players retained. The Jaguars as a result kept five wide receivers – a total that Caldwell called "about average" – and also kept two quarterbacks rather than three.
"We had to go short somewhere and it was really at quarterback," Caldwell said, noting that the team will try to re-sign rookie quarterback Stephen Morris to the practice squad Sunday.
The Jaguars last year acquired seven players off waivers on the weekend following the preseason finale. Caldwell said he doesn't anticipate such activity Sunday.
"We're in the process of evaluating a lot of guys we expect to come free right now," Caldwell said. "We've been doing it for the last 10 days with our pro scouting department. They've put together a really nice list. I would expect if the opportunity is there for us to improve our roster (signing) a guy here or a guy there, but not anything of the magnitude we did last year."
Also on Saturday:
*Caldwell addressed the release Friday of center Mike Brewster, who started the first two preseason games. "I think maybe it was just the stress and anxiety, but he just didn't perform to his best and left some opportunities on the field," Caldwell said. "He's a great kid and he's going to play somewhere I think, and he's going to get another opportunity."
*The release of Brewster left Bowanko and veteran Jacques McClendon as players who started at center in the preseason, with McClendon starting Week 3 and Bowanko starting Week 4. Bowanko's start in Week 4 has prompted speculation he will start in the regular-season opener against Philadelphia Sunday, but Caldwell did not address starters Saturday and said that Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley will address it Monday. …
*Caldwell addressed the preseason play of rookie quarterback Blake Bortles, who will enter the season as the backup to veteran Chad Henne. Caldwell said Bortles "made plays when he had to," showed command of the offense and overall "did a nice job." …
*Caldwell said the Jaguars have a plan for Bortles to develop as a backup. "He'll definitely get all the two-reps, but he'll also get a handful of reps with the ones each week, which most twos do anyways," Caldwell said. "Off to the side, you'll see him working with (quarterbacks coach) Frank (Scelfo), in some scout team periods where we'll still develop him, post-practice we'll still be developing him." …
*Caldwell said the team could address punt returner on the waiver wire. The team placed wide receiver Tandon Doss on season-ending injured reserve Friday, and although Sanders is on the roster, he is out the first four games. Cornerback Will Blackmon and wide receiver Mike Brown are possibilities currently on the roster. "We'll evaluate and see if there is any potential to upgrade until Ace gets back," Caldwell said. …
*Caldwell said the Jaguars discussed placing Doss on the NFL's injured reserve/designated to return list, but decided not to use the designation so early in the season. Teams can place one player per season on IR/designated to return, with the player allowed to return eight weeks later. To use the designation on Doss, the team would have had to carry him onto the 53-man regular-season roster. …
*Caldwell said the hope is that kicker Josh Scobee will be ready for the regular-season opener. The 11-year veteran missed the preseason finale with a quad issue. Caldwell said the team has several kickers in mind to work out later in the week if Scobee isn't ready. …
*Caldwell said he expects rookie wide receiver Allen Robinson to play against Philadelphia Sunday, though not likely in a full-speed capacity. He missed all four preseason games and much of training camp and the offseason with a hamstring issue. "A-Rob will be ready on a limited basis," Caldwell said. "He's not going to go out and run 70-or-80 plays, we don't think. We'll see how he practices this week, but he should be ready for a good package and a good amount of playing time.'' …
*Caldwell said he isn't overly concerned about the team's youth at receiver. The Jaguars kept five receivers, including fourth-year veteran Cecil Shorts III, Brown and rookies Marqise Lee, Robinson and Allen Hurns. "We feel really good about them," Caldwell said. "There's going to be a learning curve. We know that. We understand that. They're going to get their first taste of it Sunday (in the regular season opener)." …
*Caldwell discussed the play of fourth-year veteran Chris Prosinski, who made the team as a backup safety and special teams player. "Chris is one of our best special teams players," Caldwell said. "He had a really nice preseason as a safety and did some nice things. He's tackling a lot better, and that was one of the things he worked very hard on in the offseason. We feel good about CP coming in and competing on special teams for us."
*Four free-agent rookies made the 53-man roster: Hurns, tight end Marcel Jensen, Wells and Shatley.