JACKSONVILLE – As Press Taylor sees it, Calvin Ridley's value is as varied as it is high.
Ridley is a dangerous playmaker whose presence alters games. As such, defenses often shift coverage to slow the veteran receiver. Taylor said that's true and has been evident in recent weeks.
The Jaguars' offensive coordinator said something else is as true.
"He's somebody we feel needs to get the ball," Taylor said as the AFC South-leading Jaguars (5-2) prepared to play the Pittsburgh Steelers (4-2) at Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh, Pa., Sunday.
Acquired in a late-season trade with the Atlanta Falcons last season, Ridley has 27 receptions for 368 yards and two touchdowns this season.
"It's hard sometimes, but I'm here to help the team get wins," Ridley said Wednesday when asked about defenses altering coverages his way at times. "It's all a part of the game.
"When the offense moves the ball, it feels good. When we win the game, it feels even better. I'm happy when we're winning games. It doesn't matter. Win the game is the most important part."
Ridley caught a season-high seven passes for 122 yards in the Jaguars' Week 5 victory over the Buffalo Bills and has caught five passes for 35 yards in two weeks since.
"People pay respect to obviously great players," Taylor said Thursday during his weekly media availability. "Calvin's a great player. He has certain looks where teams are going to maybe more willing to play a shell more, more willing to cloud to his side one way or the other, more willing to bracket to his side. That's a case-by-case type deal.
"Whether we're getting him the ball or not, defenses are certainly aware. You see defenses have certain plans for him in different situations."
Taylor said in those situations the Jaguars' skill position talent is such that quarterback Trevor Lawrence need not force the ball to Ridley. With Ridley catching one pass for five yards in a victory over the New Orleans Saints this past Thursday, wide receiver Christian Kirk caught six passes for 90 yards and a 44-yard touchdown.
Taylor indeed said in those situations, "We want to do the right thing and just go where we're supposed to go with football based on whatever they're allowing us."
"We feel like we have the ability to spread the ball around," Taylor said. "We have a lot of really good skill players that based on whatever match you're presenting to us. We feel like we have answers within concepts or within just a scheme to get to somebody else.
"Trevor does a great job going through progressions and finding the open man based on whatever we're calling as it goes."
Still, Taylor said, Ridley's talent and potential impact is such that "we certainly need to figure out ways to get him the ball."
"That's a big part of it," Taylor said. "Calvin is a great player and deserves touches and he changes the game when he gets touches. There are certain things that we want to be able to do to allow Calvin to have an impact with the ball in his hand."
- Lawrence practiced limited for a second consecutive day after playing through a knee injury against the Saints. Wide receiver Zay Jones, out the last two games with a knee injury, missed practice for a second consecutive day Thursday and again was the lone Jaguars player not practicing. Left guard Walker Little and cornerback Tyson Campbell practiced limited for a second consecutive day, with Little having missed the last two games with a knee injury and Campbell missing the Saints game with a hamstring injury. Safety Andre Cisco practiced limited for a second consecutive day with a hamstring injury after leaving the Saints game. Cornerback Gregory Junior (hamstring), whose window to return from injured reserve is open, practiced full for a second consecutive day – as did defensive tackle DaVon Hamilton (back), whose window to return from injured reserve also is open. Right guard Brandon Scherff practiced limited for a second consecutive day after playing through an ankle injury Thursday.
- Defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell on the potential impact of Hamilton on the pass rush as the veteran nose tackle returns from a back issue that has kept him out the first seven games of the season: "He's another option. He's a guy that does it a different way. He's strong inside. He's able to push the pocket, and that enables our outside guys to rush more freely and rush a little higher. The quarterback won't be able to step up and at the end of the day, he also has a skill set to go from left to right and make a guard or center or miss and be able to push the pocket that way. He gives you a little versatility. He'll adjust to his way of doing it and help us out."