Wide receiver Jerry Porter is likely to miss the Jaguars' season-opener in Tennessee on Sept. 7. That would seem to be the logical conclusion based on coach Jack Del Rio's guidelines for Porter's return from hamstring surgery.
"It's my belief we'll need two weeks of practice with Jerry before he can play in a game," Del Rio told reporters on Monday. "If he doesn't practice this week, I would say I would hold him out of the opener."
Del Rio confirmed that Porter would not practice on Monday. The Jaguars will practice on Tuesday before flying to Washington on Wednesday for Thursday's preseason finale.
"When he returns, we'll start the timer," Del Rio said of Porter.
Thursday's game against the Redskins will likely see Jaguars starters make a brief appearance before turning the field over to those players attempting to make a final pitch for a roster spot.
"Last chance to evaluate roster spots 40-53. There's a group of people in that bubble situation that this game is extremely important for," Del Rio said.
The wide receiver corps, however, would seem to be set. Porter will likely be joined by Reggie Williams, Dennis Northcutt, Matt Jones and Mike Walker. Will Del Rio keep a sixth wide receiver? That would seem to be the burning question, and would Troy Williamson likely be that sixth receiver?
"He'll get more opportunities to compete. Going into the season, assuming he's part of the group, he'll have an opportunity to stretch the field," Del Rio said of Williamson, who was a big hit in the spring but has yet to catch a pass in the preseason.
Del Rio complimented David Garrard on his performance in Tampa on Saturday night, but was critical of the offensive line's pass-blocking failures.
"I thought David, when provided time, was sharp. Fred (Taylor) had a couple of nice runs to remind everybody he still has some juice. I think our offensive line has to block better for David and give Fred bigger holes," Del Rio said.
Del Rio was complimentary of just about every other group on his team. He heaped praise on his wide receivers.
"I like the way the wide-outs were working. Dennis (Northcutt) made a couple of nice third-down plays. Matt (Jones) continues to play well. Getting Reggie (Williams) back is nice. I thought Mike Walker took a step forward. The group overall is pretty solid … good enough overall to set a franchise record for offensive productivity. We feel pretty good with what we have. Jerry Porter wasn't asked to come in here and be a savior," Del Rio said.
Porter's return and the arrival of first-round pick Derrick Harvey are the two main issues as the team heads into its final preseason game. Del Rio said there was no news to report on attempts to sign Harvey to a contract.
"The only reasonable way for me to handle this is to treat this like an injury and move on," Del Rio said of Harvey's absence.
In his radio show last week, Del Rio placed blame on Harvey's agent for the failure of the team and the player to come to an agreement.
"I base that only on the facts. There's a sizeable amount of money out there. I'm assuming the person has a passion to play football. The only thing that would stand in the way is an agent concerned about recruiting next year's class by what he does this year," Del Rio said.
The team must cut its roster from 80 to 75 by four p.m. on Tuesday. The Jaguars cut offensive lineman Chris Liwienski and signed running back Ciatrick Faison on Monday. Asked if tight end George Wrighster and defensive tackle Derek Landri are candidates for the injured reserve list, Del Rio said: "They would be IR candidates but that's not a decision we have to make now.
"We'll have our last go and then evaluate our roster and make decisions. As coaches, we're going to count everything," Del Rio added.