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With injuries mounting, Denard Robinson getting chance to make mark
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In his first training camp with the Jacksonville Jaguarsa year ago, Denard Robinson was a positional oddity — the mysterious and somewhat unexplained “offensive weapon.”
Now the former star Michigan quarterback is becoming an increasingly rare commodity — a running back or receiver in their camp who has not missed time because of injuries.
With coach Gus Bradley confirming Wednesday that Toby Gerhart will not play in the preseason opener Friday night against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers because of lingering soreness in his hip flexor, both Robinson and Jordan Todman are bound to get an increased workload at running back. But with so many wide receivers unable to practice, Robinson could almost be pressed into emergency service at the position he’s actually listed at on the Jaguars’ roster.
Cecil Shorts III (hamstring), Tandon Doss (ankle) and rookie Allen Robinson (hamstring) have all gone down in the past two weeks at a position where they were already thin because of suspensions to Justin Blackmon and Ace Sanders. Then Mike Brown sat out Wednesday due to a tight hamstring, and rookie free agent Nathan Slaughter sprained his foot and was waived later in the day.
During Wednesday’s practice, Denard Robinson took part in 7-on-7 drills with the second-team offense where the three official wide receivers at the disposal of first-round pick Blake Bortles were Chad Bumphis, Lamaar Thomas and Kenny Shaw. Both Bumphis and Thomas spent most of 2013 on the Jaguars’ practice squad, while Shaw — the second-leading receiver for Florida State’s national championship squad a year ago — was claimed off waivers last Saturday.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, the Jaguars are without two tight ends because of a calf injury to Clay Harbor and an undisclosed illness to Brandon Barden.
“You want to just stay healthy and continue to do your routine,” Robinson said. “That’s the biggest thing. The question is whether I can compete. If you’re not healthy, you can’t compete.”