JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Jacksonville Jaguars coach Gus Bradley has no idea who will be returning punts in Sunday’s game against Houston.
The three players he has used in that role the past three weeks each committed a turnover that led to points, and Bradley said Monday that he’s going to have an open competition for the job.
Rashad Greene entered the season as the Jaguars’ top returner – he averaged 16.7 yards per return and took one back for a touchdown last season – but he has been bothered by an Achilles injury and has missed three of the last four games. He did play against Oakland on Oct. 23 and started the three-week streak by having a punt bounce off his thigh. The Raiders recovered at the Jacksonville 17-yard line and eventually kicked a field goal.
Marqise Lee dropped a punt the following week against Tennessee and the Titans recovered at the Jaguars 35 and went on to kick a field goal.
Bryan Walters didn’t have trouble catching a punt against Kansas City on Sunday, but he had the ball knocked loose and the Chiefs recovered at the Jaguars 23. Two plays later they scored a touchdown.
Greene, Lee and Walters will compete for the job this week, and there could even be another player or two in the mix.
Greene would still be the favorite considering how much success he had last season. He took one back 73 yards for a touchdown against Indianapolis and also had a 63-yard return to set up the game-winning touchdown against Tennessee at EverBank Field.
He hasn’t been as successful this season, though, averaging just 7.1 yards on 15 returns, but he has been limited by the Achilles injury.
"Rashad Greene has not been [active] the last couple weeks, so I think you’ve got to make sure that when you have a competition that they all have a chance to be up and active," Bradley said. "So we’ll take a look at that.
"He’s been battling some injuries, so I think to get him back to where he’s 100 percent, I think he’s closer to that. And then I think just take a good look at him this week now."