A rash of new injuries, coupled with the Jaguars' salary cap restrictions, have made it difficult for coach Tom Coughlin to put a competitive lineup on the field. This Sunday, in Cincinnati, the Jaguars are expected to be in their most depleted state of the season.
Today's official injury report lists linebacker T.J. Slaughter as "out" with a knee injury suffered in Monday's loss to the Packers. Kyle Brady (ankle), Mark Brunell (quadriceps), Fernando Bryant (foot), Danny Clark (foot/ankle), Kevin Hardy (knee) and Fred Taylor (groin) are all "questionable," and Donovin Darius (concussion), Elvis Joseph (shoulder), Marlon McCree (ankle) and Edward Thomas (hamstring) are "probable."
It is the Jaguars' longest injury list of the season. Making matters worse, the team continues to be up against the salary cap, making roster moves extremely difficult. The best example of that is the current kickoff situation. The Jaguars cut Jim Tarle but didn't have the cap money available to sign another kickoff specialist.
Today, the Jaguars announced they have cut wide receiver Alvis Whitted, which offered the Jaguars enough cap room to promote linebacker Joe Wesley from the practice squad to the active roster. The Jaguars desperately needed another linebacker due to the injury status of Slaughter, Hardy and Clark.
"Every week we have to do some financial considerations to fit our needs. We made this move to add Wesley and … be under the cap," Coughlin told reporters today.
Whitted was a seventh-round draft choice in 1998 whose speed intrigued Coughlin. Whitted's hands, however, remained a source of frustration. Against Green Bay, Whitted allowed a key, second-half pass to sail through his hands.
"It may not have been a consideration," Coughlin said when asked if Whitted would've been cut had he caught that pass.
The depleted state of the Jaguars roster borders on a state of panic. With five games to play, the Jaguars' starting lineup is loaded with undrafted free agents and waiver-wire acquisitions. It causes concern for what the Jaguars may be forced to put on the field on the final Sunday of the season.
"It's not a surprise. We knew coming in we had a nucleus of guys we had to keep on the field. This is where we are in the NFL," Coughlin said of what he considers to be a lack of available talent. "Some teams are lucky to have that depth, but most teams are not."
Mostly, the Jaguars have been unlucky, even when it's come to officials calls. Coughlin told reporters today he was informed by the league office "there was no pass interference" on the play late in the first half when Fernando Bryant's interception was nullified by a pass-interference penalty. "That was the reply," Coughlin said.
Maybe Coughlin should've asked the league for a couple of roster exemptions as an apology.