JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The 2015 season is almost upon us. Training camps begin soon, the Hall of Fame game is Aug. 9, the preseason begins Aug. 13, and the first regular-season game is Sept. 10.
To get you ready for the Jacksonville Jaguars' season, I’ll have a list of 15 things to know, ponder and file away. The series will continue each weekday until training camp begins July 31
Call it 15 for '15.
Today: Return game battle
It may not be as high-profile as the battle between Luke Bowanko and Stefen Wisniewski to be the starting center or to be the two starting cornerbacks, but the competition at punt and kick returner is going to be fun to watch during training camp.
The release of Ace Sanders last week means that there could be as many as six players competing to return punts in 2015. The front-runner would be Tandon Doss, who led the NFL in punt-return average in 2013 (15.6 yards per return) but missed the 2014 season with a foot injury. His chances are impacted by whether the Jaguars decide to keep five or six receivers, but he could force their hand on that if he has an outstanding camp as a returner.
Rookie receiver Rashad Greene will get a look as well. He averaged 12.3 yards on 38 returns in his four seasons at Florida State.
Others to watch are receiver Bryan Walters, rookie running back Corey Grant, rookie receiver Kasey Closs and rookie cornerback Nick Marshall. Walters averaged 7.2 yards on 21 returns in his career with Seattle and San Diego.
Marshall is a converted quarterback who is learning how to play cornerback so the Jaguars may not want to add anything more onto his plate.
At kick returner, the likely main candidates are running backs Denard Robinson, Storm Johnson and Grant. Of that group, Robinson is the only player that’s done it in a regular-season game. He averaged 22.0 yards on four returns as a rookie in 2013.
Grant is intriguing because of his speed (4.2 seconds in the 40-yard dash). He averaged 24.5 yards per return on 22 returns in three seasons at Auburn. If he makes the roster he’ll likely do it as a returner, in which case it’s likely that Johnson, a seventh-round pick in 2013, will be cut.