If the Jacksonville Jaguars' defense is unprepared for opposing wide receives in weeks to come, we now know why.
According to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com, the Jaguars' receiving corps is so depleted that the team has resorted to using ball boys and equipment assistants as scout team wide receivers.
A suspension to Justin Blackmon and injuries to Mike Brown and Stephen Burton has seriously thinned the number of available wideouts. Cecil Shorts and rookie Ace Sanders are the only two healthy receivers currently on the active roster, although practice squad players Jeremy Ebert and Tobais Palmer will likely be on the field Sunday.
Jacksonville is last in the NFL with only one receiving touchdown through three games. The Jaguars are averaging 211 passing yards-per-game, which is the fourth worst in the league.
"It’s just part of the game," Shorts told ESPN of the Jaguars' predicament. "Being a professional, being in the NFL, you get hurt, things happen. You’ve got to be able to bounce back from it and those are the guys that have to be able to step up and play. We’re definitely confident in Ebert and Tobias. They’ve been with us since April so they definitely know the system. I’m excited for them to go out there and get an opportunity."
While scout team players are usually reserves anyway, they play a crucial role in preparing the team for its next opponent. Having ballboys and equipment managers mimic NFL receivers won't help much as the Jaguars attempt to turn around what has been a terrible start to the season.