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Wednesday update: A motivated rookie class

Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Josh Allen (41) and Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Dawuane Smoot (94) celebrates a sack of Los Angeles Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers (17) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Dec. 8, 2019, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)

JACKSONVILLE – Josh Allen left no doubt:

He's motivated for the final three regular-season games and can't imagine not being that way.

"The time I don't have anything to play for is when I'm done and retired," Allen said.

Allen, the Jaguars' rookie edge rusher, spoke Wednesday afternoon as the Jaguars (4-9) prepared to play the Oakland Raiders (6-7) at RingCentral Stadium in Oakland, California, Sunday at 4:05 p.m.

And while the question of motivation is logical considering the Jaguars are eliminated from the postseason – and considering they have lost five consecutive games by 17 or more points – Allen hardly was alone among Jaguars rookies Wednesday.

For this group, motivation isn't close to an issue.

"It doesn't matter the record," rookie right tackle Jawaan Taylor said. "I just want to keep getting better as a player, bettering myself every single day. At the end of the day, I just want to finish the year strong."

Allen and Taylor, the Jaguars' first- and second-round selections in the 2019 NFL Draft, are among several Jaguars rookies playing key roles in the season's final month. Third-round selection Quincy Williams has started the last three games at weak-side linebacker, free-agent rookie Andrew Wingard started the last two games at strong safety in place of Ronnie Harrison and sixth-round selection Gardner Minshew II will make his 10th start of the season at quarterback Sunday.

"I don't think you need a prize or playoffs to compete," Minshew said. "The pure joy of beating the guy across from you should be enough. I think we have guys like that in our room, and I'm excited to go compete with them."

Defensive end Calais Campbell said the final three games of the season are important for any player, but particularly for a developing player.

"This is where character is built," he said. "It's easy for guys to play well when it's going your way, when you're winning a bunch of ball games and are locked in. This is where you establish your identity, particularly when you're younger in your career. It establishes the culture of what you need to do to win. …

"Experience plays a big role in this game. These guys have only played in 13 games in their careers. When you get to the 20-to-30 range, a lightbulb comes on. Getting these reps and opportunities, it really does help these guys."

Also around the Jaguars Wednesday:

*Head Coach Doug Marrone said the team was looking at linebacker after allowing 195 yards rushing to the Los Angeles Chargers Sunday – the fourth time in five games the defense has allowed at least that many yards rushing. Chargers running back Austin Ekeler also had four receptions for 112 yards in the game. The Jaguars two weeks ago placed starting middle linebacker Myles Jack on injured reserve, leaving the following linebackers on the roster: Williams, third-year middle linebacker Donald Payne, second-year strong-side linebacker Leon Jacobs, second-year veteran Austin Calitro, rookie Joe Giles-Harris and rookie Dakota Allen. "Obviously, we're going to see Quincy today in practice, see how it goes," Marrone said. "Austin, Donald Payne, Joe Giles (-Harris) … We're looking at a couple of different things that we can do – whether it be package wise and what we can handle. That's the thing that happens now: You try to do a couple different things and then if you change one assignment for one person … OK, really you're changing multiple assignments to do things. So, those are the challenges that we have going into the week, and we have the week to try to figure it out and see what looks good." …

*Wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. (ankle) was among three players missing practice, with the others being defensive end Calais Campbell (back) and center Brandon Linder (shoulder). Marrone said Wednesday morning Chark wants to play. "He wants to finish the season strong which is awesome," Marrone said of Chark, who has 67 receptions for 956 yards and eight touchdowns in his second season. "We have him in a boot to make sure he's protected. The swelling's down, so I think we're going to take that all the way up [to the game]. As long as it doesn't put anyone in jeopardy of reinjuring, or it can be worse, I think you'll see he'll be on the field." Campbell and Linder typically miss practice on regular-season Wednesdays. …

*The following players practiced limited: wide receiver Dede Westbrook (neck/shoulder), cornerback Tre Herndon (shoulder), Williams (hand). Harrison (concussion), tight end Seth DeValve (oblique) and cornerback A.J. Bouye (calf) all practiced full. …

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