JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars will have a new kicker Thursday.
They'll have a new starting center, too – but the more surprising news Wednesday was that the Jaguars placed kicker Josh Lambo injured reserve with a hip injury.
Brandon Wright, a rookie free agent from Georgia State, will kick for the Jaguars (1-1) against the Miami Dolphins (0-2) in their prime-time, nationally-televised game at TIAA Bank Field Thursday. Head Coach Doug Marrone announced the news Wednesday.
Marrone was then asked his confidence level in Wright.
"High," he said.
Wright signed with the Jaguars as a collegiate free agent shortly after the 2020 NFL Draft. He had a career punting average of 42.3 yards in college, scoring 200 career points while converting 104 of 109 extra points.
"You do things early on to protect yourself," Marrone said of the Jaguars acquiring Wright to back up Lambo and punter Logan Cooke. "You don't ever want to use that stuff, but here's a guy we brought into camp and we really liked him. We wanted to spend some time with him.
"We had to make a move to fill a roster spot [in training camp]. We wound up letting him go knowing that in the back of our minds we were going to bring him back."
Wright, a punter and kicker, also can handle kickoffs. He had been on the Jaguars' practice squad the first two games of the season.
"We were basically thinking about the COVID[-19] situation, if something happened to one of our kickers," Marrone said. "I would have a whole lot different type of anxiety if we just took someone off the street. He has been here. I've been watching him kick. I have full confidence in any phase that we use him."
Lambo has made 74 of 78 field goals since joining the Jaguars in 2017. He has made three of three field goals this season, missing an extra point in a loss to the Tennessee Titans this past Sunday.
Marrone on Wednesday also said center Brandon Linder will miss Thursday – though the seventh-year veteran will not be placed on injured reserve with a knee injury sustained against Tennessee. Sixth-year veteran Tyler Shatley, who replaced Linder against Tennessee, will start at center on Thursday.
Marrone, who coached Shatley as offensive line coach in 2015-2016 and as head coach since 2017, also called his confidence in Shatley "high."
"He's proven that," Marrone said. "He gives you greater confidence. He's a veteran guy. He has done this before, where he has filled in. He has played a really good level. I have a lot of confidence in Tyler being in that position. I'm not concerned about that."
Pro Bowl Wide receiver DJ Chark Jr. will be listed as questionable with a chest/back injury sustained on a deep pass against Tennessee.
"I just think we're being careful," Marrone said of Chark's status.