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Injuries leave Jaguars short-handed at WR

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The final period of each OTA workout is what Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley calls the opportunity period. It’s a time when young players or players deep on the depth chart get a chance to get some reps.

Tuesday’s entire OTA pretty much counted as an opportunity period for the young receivers. The Jaguars began the workout with six receivers sitting out because of injuries, and then lost Cecil Shorts because of stiffness in his calf.

None of the injuries are considered serious, although rookie Allen Robinson could miss several weeks with a hamstring pull, but losing the top six receivers certainly impacted the workout.

"To say we ignored it or just moved on [would be incorrect]," Bradley said. "Once we adjusted practice we just moved forward. I really thought those young receivers competed really well. They did a great job.

"For us trying to take advantage of seeing those guys, I think we did that."

In addition to Robinson, Marqise Lee (ankle), Mike Brown (groin), Ace Sanders (thigh), Tandon Doss (calf) and Lamaar Thomas (knee) also did not practice. Shorts left the field in the second half of the workout.

That allowed former practice squad players Kerry Taylor and Chad Bumphis, and undrafted rookies Allen Hurns and Damian Copeland to get the bulk of the reps. That additional work is certainly beneficial to those four, who are fighting to earn a spot as the fifth or sixth receiver. Shorts, Lee, Robinson and Sanders are pretty much locked in as the top four, and the remaining seven players are competing for two spots.

Though it is unusual to see one position group affected so severely, it does happen. Cincinnati, for example, is holding out its top two tight ends from OTAs because of injuries. The Jaguars also battled injuries at receiver last season, and didn’t have Shorts for the final three games because of a sports hernia.

Missing significant time, though, would hurt Lee and Robinson the most. The second-round picks are trying to learn the offense, and the loss of valuable reps will only make that harder. Robinson’s hamstring injury might cost him two or more weeks. Lee was wearing a protective boot on his foot Tuesday, but that is to immobilize the joint and speed the healing process, so it doesn’t appear he’ll miss much time.

The Jaguars have another OTA on Thursday, four next week, and then a mandatory minicamp June 17-19 before breaking for the summer. It would be a surprise if anyone but Robinson missed the minicamp.