JACKSONVILLE – Doug Marrone announced two pieces of positive Jaguars news Friday.
One involves Sunday, and the other won’t be a major topic until November.
Rookie tight end Josh Oliver will make his first NFL appearance on Sunday. Marrone, the Jaguars’ head coach, announced that on Friday afternoon while also confirming that quarterback Nick Foles is expected to return to practice Wednesday.
Oliver, a third-round selection in the 2019 NFL Draft from San Jose State, missed the entire preseason and the first six regular-season games with a hamstring injury. He practiced full on Thursday, his first full practice since the injury.
“He’s going to play and we’ll see how it goes,” Marrone said of Oliver as the Jaguars (2-4) prepared to play the Cincinnati Bengals (0-6) at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, Sunday at 1 p.m.
Oliver’s status is key for the Jaguars in part because of injuries at tight end. Starter James O’Shaughnessy is out for the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament, and the Jaguars on Friday ruled Geoff Swaim out with a concussion and ankle injury sustained in a loss to New Orleans last Sunday.
“I feel good,” Oliver said. “I’m ready to go out and compete. It’s up to the coaches how much I play. Whatever the situation I’m always going to come out and compete. It’s been tremendously hard. It’s the first major injury I’ve really had in my career.
“It gave me a step back away and I was able to see it from a coach’s perspective. So, it hasn’t been all negative, but it definitely has been a stumbling block to overcome.”
Foles, signed as an unrestricted free agent to be the team’s starter, hasn’t played since sustaining a broken clavicle in a Week 1 loss to Kansas City. He was placed on injured reserve shortly thereafter. While not eligible to play until November 17 at Indianapolis, he is eligible to begin practicing Wednesday.
“We think we’ll be able to get him next Wednesday out at practice,” Marrone said.
Swaim was one of two Jaguars players ruled out Friday. The other was wide receiver Marqise Lee, who was ruled out with an ankle injury sustained against New Orleans.
Wide receiver Dede Westbrook, who did not appear on this week’s Wednesday injury report, was listed as questionable Friday after not practicing with a shoulder injury Thursday and working limited Friday. Marrone said Westbrook will play Sunday, and that he won’t be a game-time decision.
Marrone also said he is comfortable with Westbrook playing despite limited practice this week.
“I really am,” Marrone said. “He’s done a good job. He has worked hard. He’s feeling better today. We just wanted to be cautious and see where we are when we get to game day.”