WR injury situation getting ridiculous

August, 6, 2014
Aug 6
4:00
PM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Lamaar Thomas is trying to be very, very careful these days.

He’s practically tip-toeing throughout the Jaguars' facility, looking around corners, making sure not to trip over anything on the locker room floor. If he has to get up at night, he’s grabbing a flashlight to make sure he’s not stubbing a toe on the way to the bathroom.

You can’t blame him for being overly cautious. At the rate the Jaguars' receivers keep going down with injuries, he figures it’s only a matter of time until he’s next.

"Playing football, those things happen," Thomas said Wednesday. "You don’t want to make it a bigger issue than it really is. After practice, you just try to take care of your body, get in the cold tub, go in the training room as much as you can.

[+] EnlargeChad Henne (7) and Blake Bortles (5)
AP Photo/Phelan M. EbenhackChad Henne (7) and Blake Bortles (5) have had to get used to different WRs during camp.
"But, yeah, it is a trembling effect where you’re like, ‘I don’t know if I should open this door. I don’t know what’s going to happen.’"

A little bit of hyperbole, sure, but that scenario speaks to the ridiculous level that the injury situation with the Jaguars’ receivers has reached. Mike Brown, whom receivers coach Jerry Sullivan earlier in the day had called the team’s best receiver in camp, went down with hamstring tightness. He is the sixth receiver to miss time with an injury since camp began.

The medical chart:

Cecil Shorts, the team’s most experienced receiver, also left the first practice of camp on July 25 with what was first labeled as hamstring tightness. He hasn’t practiced since.

Second-round draft pick Allen Robinson suffered a hamstring strain on July 31 and is out for at least another week. Veteran Tandon Doss, whom the team signed to a free-agent contract in March, suffered a severely sprained ankle on Aug. 1 and is out indefinitely.

The Jaguars placed rookie free agent Damian Copeland on injured reserve on Monday with a wrist injury, meaning he will miss the entire 2014 season.

On Tuesday, undrafted rookie Nathan Slaughter suffered a sprained foot and is out for several weeks.

Then there’s the saga of Ace Sanders, who caught 51 passes as a rookie last season. He has taken a leave of absence for camp and will face a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

For several hours on Wednesday, the Jaguars had only two healthy receivers who have played in an NFL game: Kerry Taylor (10 games, 22 career catches) and Thomas (two games, two career catches). That total doubled after the Jaguars signed two receivers in the afternoon -- former New York Giant Ramses Barden (29 games, 29 catches) and Chad Hall (24 games, 16 catches), who played nine games with Kansas City last season.

"Man, I’ve never seen anything like it," said Taylor, who started four games for the Jaguars last season. "I don’t even know what to call it.

"It does kind of suck to see every single person at some point go down with something. Hopefully they can do what they have to do to get back, because that takes a toll on the guys that are out there and healthy, picking up more reps. We’re going three, four groups out there and if you’ve only got two groups of receivers or one-and-a-half groups of receivers, it makes it a lot harder."

Three of the remaining healthy receivers are rookies (Kenny Shaw, Marqise Lee and Allen Hurns) and Chad Bumphis has been on the practice squad with three teams. Shaw has only been with the team since Saturday. Barden and Hall haven’t even eaten a meal with their teammates yet.

That’s the biggest problem with the injuries. None are expected to last into the regular season, with the possible exception of Doss’ ankle sprain, but they are impacting the continuity on offense and the development of rookie quarterback Blake Bortles. It’s hard for Chad Henne to trust receivers that he’s only known for a couple of days.

"We’ve got guys like Shaw that just came in a couple days ago and he’s already taking reps with the second group," Taylor said. "It’s tough on him because he doesn’t know the playbook yet. He just got here. But it’s an opportunity for him and a chance to show what he can do. Same with all the rest of the guys that are still out there practicing. The good thing is we have a game in two days so there’s more reps in the game. I don’t think anyone’s going to complain about that."

Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said he’s not frustrated with the injuries -- yet. The team has tried to do a good job of limiting reps and giving guys days off to minimize the normal camp wear and tear, but Bradley hasn’t been able to do that at receiver because guys keep getting hurt.

"I think we need to guard against the piling on the reps to other guys," he said. "I think it would become more frustrating if we were getting closer to the first [regular-season] game."

The number of injuries is a bit ridiculous, though. Through the first 11 days of camp, the Jaguars have used 15 receivers. Who knows how long it’ll be until the projected starting lineup of Shorts, Lee and Sanders is on the field together?

But more importantly, how long will it be until another receiver gets hurt?

Mike DiRocco | email

ESPN Jacksonville Jaguars reporter

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