The Jacksonville Jaguars begin their 26th season in franchise history when they host the Indianapolis Colts in the 2020 regular season opener on Sunday, Sept. 13 at 1 p.m. at TIAA Bank Field. Sunday's game is a rematch of the Jaguars' 2019 season finale when Jacksonville defeated Indianapolis, 38-20, on Dec. 29, 2019 led by three TD passes from QB Gardner Minshew II.
Young and Ready: The Jaguars' youth will be on full display Sunday as their 53-man roster features 29 players who have played in the NFL for three-or-fewer seasons. Two of those players – third-year WR DJ Chark Jr. and second-year DE Josh Allen made the Pro Bowl last season – while second-year QB Gardner Minshew II broke franchise rookie records for single season passing yards (3,271), single game passing yards (374, Week 5 at Carolina), and single season passing TDs (21) in 2019. The Jaguars became the first team in NFL history to have rookies with at least 10.0 sacks (Allen) and 20 TD passes (Minshew) in the same season since sacks officially became a statistic in 1982. **
Quotable: "I think just going in, our attention is [on] being a better team and showing that we can do what we say we want to do. I think that's the biggest thing, I think that's the thing that Coach Marrone wants from us the most, to be ourselves and not worry about outside noise and things like that. So, I'm just interested to see how these young guys get out there and play for the first time and battle with them and get a win." – WR DJ Chark Jr.
Clash with the Colts: Sunday marks the 39th contest between the Jaguars and the Colts and third time the two teams have met on Kickoff Weekend. Indianapolis has not won in Jacksonville since 2014, and the Jaguars have outscored the Colts, 125-46, in their last four matchups at TIAA Bank Field. Since taking over in 2017, Head Coach Doug Marrone is 4-2 against Indianapolis with two shutout victories.
Quotable: "You always kind of know your divisional opponents a little bit more. Having a team that has had a staff that's been there for a little while, you can kind of see year to year how they change. I'm expecting they'll definitely have some wrinkles for us, but I think we have a pretty good grasp on what they try to do since they are in the division. We played them our last game [of last season]. We feel good about our planning." – QB Gardner Minshew II
Rookie Running Back:Rookie RBJames Robinson is set to make his first career start on Sunday against the Colts. Robinson joined the Jaguars as an undrafted free agent following a storied career at Illinois State where he made his mark in the Redbirds record books. The Rockford, Ill. native finished his career ranked No. 2 in the ISU record books in rushing yards (4,444), all-purpose yards (5,218) and total TDs (46). In 2019, he was named a consensus First Team FCS All-American after posting a career-high 1,899 rushing yards and 16 TDs. With a start, Robinson would be the fourth running back in franchise history to start their first career game in Week 1 of his rookie season.
Quotable: "He had a successful career at Illinois State. [He] ran for a lot of yards and has been very productive. My biggest surprise with him is his ability to catch the ball and block. He's a great blocker; he has great hands. He's picked up everything extremely well. [Running Backs Coach] Coach Robiskie has done an outstanding job with him, but James has really taken it to a level for a rookie free agent, not getting the reps early in camp, to really dominate in the reps that he did get and really turning our heads and that's the key to a rookie free agent making the team. Evolving into a starter is almost impossible without any preseason games, but he made us all feel very comfortable about it with his ability to do the right thing and then when he does have the ball, he makes something happen." – Offensive Coordinator Jay Gruden
Kickoff Weekend: The Jaguars look to improve to 3-1 on Kickoff Weekend under Head Coach Doug Marrone. Jacksonville is 7-7 all-time in season openers at home and are 13-12 overall in Week 1. The Jaguars' 2020 season is book-ended by matchups against the Colts – at home in Week 1 and in Indianapolis in Week 17. It marks the second time in franchise history the Jaguars will open and close their season by playing the same team (Indianapolis, 2002).
Jacksonville is the only team expected to host fans this Sunday. Along with their stadium partners, the Jaguars have created a contactless fan experience in 2020, including new touchless security screening, self-scan ticket kiosks, mobile in-seat concession ordering and cashless payment options for parking, merchandise and food purchases. The Jaguars have installed more than 750 hand sanitizing stations around TIAA Bank Field and certified disinfection specialists keep high touchpoint areas clean on game day.
Quotable: "For our team, we have a division opponent right off the bat, coming here at home, so we're excited about that and it'll be a great challenge for us. I think that this team has done a good job. We practice well, but now the proof will be in the pudding once you go out there on Sunday and you play." – Head Coach Doug Marrone
Free Agent Finds: The Jaguars' unofficial depth chart features two starters that they acquired in free agency: TE Tyler Eifert and LB Joe Schobert. Schobert, who signed with the Jaguars in April 2020 following four seasons with the Browns, has totaled 378 tackles since becoming a full-time starter in 2017, the fourth-most in the NFL. Eifert has caught 24 TDs in his eight-year career, including a career-high 13 in 2015 when he earned Pro Bowl honors. The Jaguars will also look for contributions from RB Chris Thompson, who signed with the team in May and has posted 215 receptions since entering the league in 2013. Thompson, Schobert and Eifert are all expected to play in their first-ever game at TIAA Bank Field on Sunday.
Quotable: "Joe [Schobert] has a really good command of what we're trying to get done. He's a great communicator and has good speed and read and diagnoses well. He's going to be around a lot of football and around a lot of plays and he's shown that throughout camp and he's been consistent that way. You go out and get a guy to fill that position and we'll get better production out of that position because now that we have Myles [Jack] playing WILL, we're going to get really good production out of him. When you look at the overall play of those two stacked linebacker positions, those guys have been good and on the same page. They communicate well together which is one thing you look at early on. They talk to each other; they have a good feel for it so I'm expecting those guys to make a lot of plays for us." – Head Coach Doug Marrone
Every week during the 2020 season, Jaguars Public Relations Assistant David Wolf will write five key stats about the Jaguars' upcoming game. A Chapel Hill, N.C. native, Wolf joined the Jacksonville Jaguars in May 2018.