Mon Sep 17 6:40pm ET
By MARK LONG
AP Sports Writer
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole, right, catches a pass for a 24-yard touchdown in front of New England Patriots defensive back Eric Rowe during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles (5) celebrates his touchdown pass to wide receiver Keelan Cole (84) during the first half of an NFL football game against the New England Patriots, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole, right, celebrates a touchdown catch against the New England Patriots with running back Tommy Bohanon (40) during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Jacksonville Jaguars wide receiver Keelan Cole, left, catches a pass for a 24-yard touchdown in front of New England Patriots defensive back Eric Rowe during the first half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Sept. 16, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) Keelan Cole was a wide-eyed rookie in 2017, an undrafted receiver from tiny Kentucky Wesleyan who ended up in Jacksonville's starting lineup because of injuries.
He was lost at times, overwhelmed by the complexity of routes and responsibilities, and in awe of the speed around him. He finally found his footing in December, catching touchdown passes in three consecutive games before going mostly missing in the playoffs.
Now, in his second season, Cole has the confidence of a savvy veteran and is quickly becoming the go-to receiver for the Jaguars (2-0).
Cole had seven receptions for 116 yards and a touchdown in the team's 31-20 victory against New England on Sunday. He delivered the most impressive catch of his career and quite possibly the best one in the NFL this season, a one-handed grab down the sideline that prompted TV analyst Tony Romo to compare him to Odell Beckham.
''I'm like everyone else. You go, `Wow,''' Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said Monday. ''But he has made those catches in training camp. He has done that before. ... You look around the league and you'll see other players that do great things like that or make these (plays). You tip your hat and acknowledge it and go, `Wow, that was a hell of a play.' It was a hell of a play.''
Cole followed with a 24-yard TD reception three plays later, beating cornerback Eric Rowe again and getting him benched. Cole flipped the ball into the stands as he ran into a nearby tunnel, drawing another comparison - this time to Bo Jackson .
''Keelan is just a young guy who can do anything he wants to do,'' teammate and veteran receiver Donte Moncrief said.
The Jaguars believe Cole is just getting started, too. His talent and growth are reasons Jacksonville didn't scour the streets or other NFL rosters after leading receiver Marqise Lee sustained a season-ending knee injury last month.
Dez Bryant? Josh Gordon? The Jags believed they would be just fine with Cole, Moncrief and Dede Westbrook.
All three scored against the Patriots. Next up are the Tennessee Titans.
Cole garnered most of the attention against New England, partly for making the key block on Westbrook's 61-yard catch-and-run but mostly for his spectacular catch. Cole stared intently at the Patriots sideline after the one-handed stab and then caught a few replays of it on the scoreboard.
''I've only seen it like three times so far,'' he said. ''I haven't really gotten to see it enough to talk about it, so I'm not going to sit here and lie to y'all about something. I don't really know what's going on yet. But I know I caught it. First down. That's all I've got for you.''
Cole now has 55 receptions for 1,000 yards and four touchdowns in 21 career games. He's averaging more than 18 yards a catch, evidence of his speed and big-play ability.
But it might be hard for him to top what he did against the Pats.
''He does stuff like that all the time in practice and kind of just showing off,'' said quarterback Blake Bortles, who threw for 377 yards and four touchdowns. ''He's got unbelievable abilities, so to watch him go out there, have fun and make plays like that is pretty special.''
NOTES: Jaguars placed left tackle Cam Robinson on injured reserve after he tore a knee ligament against the Patriots. They re-signed receiver Rashad Green to fill his spot on the 53-man roster.
New England Patriots right tackle Marcus Cannon (concussion) did not practice all week and has been ruled out for Week 7 against the Bears. Quarterback Tom Brady's protection won't be as good as usual against a strong Chicago pass rush, although All-Pro defensive end Khalil Mack (ankle) is questionable and was slowed by his injury last week. Still, it's something to keep an eye on for this Sunday. If New England's offensive line is struggling, expect the Patriots to get the ball out quickly, which would favor receiver Julian Edelman and running back James White.
Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Brice Butler (groin) practiced in full all week and is no longer on the Week 7 injury report against the Redskins after sitting out in Week 6. While Butler could see a role against Washington, he has yet to catch a pass in 2018 and would be behind Allen Hurns, Cole Beasley, rookie Michael Gallup and Deonte Thompson in one of the worst passing offenses in football, so you can continue ignoring him.
Miami Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill (shoulder) will play again this season, but his long-term future is in doubt. Tannehill continues to battle injuries and has not lived up to expectations in the first seven weeks of the season. Before the knee injury that kept him out for all of 2017 he had a quarterback rating of 93.5 and completed 67.1 percent of his passes in 2016. His QB rating through five games this year is at 92.9 with a completion percentage of 65.9. Tannehill is scheduled to cost $26.6 million against the salary cap next year, while releasing him after the year take $13.2 million off the cap. It all likely depends on whether Tannehill can improve in the second half of the season when he returns from his right shoulder injury. Until then, Brock Osweiler will fill in under center. Tannehill will probably be dropped in shallow leagues with him likely to miss at least the next two games.
Detroit Lions RB Ameer Abdullah could see some action in passing situations with RB Theo Riddick (knee) ruled out against the Miami Dolphins in Week 8.
New Orleans Saints WR Tre'Quan Smith is expected to see a larger role after WR Ted Ginn Jr. (knee) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list, and Smith said he is 'ready for the opportunity.'
Fantasy Spin: Smith was able to show that he can be a threat down the field when he caught three passes for 111 and two touchdowns against the Washington Redskins in Week 5. He will be a boom-or-bust flex option against the Ravens in Week 7.
New Orleans Saints WR Ted Ginn Jr. (knee) has a 'realistic' chance to return when he is eligible to come off the Reserve/Injured list in eight weeks, according to head coach Sean Payton.
Jacksonville Jaguars RB Carlos Hyde won't overtake RB T.J. Yeldon for the lead back role against the Houston Texans in Week 7, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com.
Fantasy Spin: The Jaguars backfield could become quite crowded if Leonard Fournette is ever healthy, but until Hyde's role becomes clear, you should hang on to him in all formats. That being said, you won't want to start him in Week 7.
Jacksonville Jaguars RB T.J. Yeldon will remain the 'main back' for the Week 7 game against the Houston Texans, according to Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com.
Fantasy Spin: The Jaguars just acquired Carlos Hyde, but until he has a full week of practice with the team under his belt, it makes sense that Yeldon would shoulder most of the load. Yeldon can be a RB2 in most leagues.
Buccaneers wide receiver Mike Evans is always a start given his elite status but he will have a tough matchup this weekend against rookie cornerback Denzel Ward. Evans massive height gives him a natural advantage over the undersized Ward but he will have a difficult time getting separation. Back-to-back duds by Evans shouldn't discourage his owners from starting him this weekend since he's still Mike Evans. Just don't expect much more than low-end WR1 numbers against Cleveland.
Arizona Cardinals QB Josh Rosen (toe) is dealing with a sprained left toe but should be available for the Week 8 game, according to head coach Steve Wilks.
Fantasy Spin: Rosen has struggled since taking over as the starting quarterback but will be working with a new offensive coordinator next week. Rosen should not be a starting option in any fantasy leagues, but owners may want to keep an eye on him to see if he improves over the next few weeks.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers DT Vita Vea will start at defensive tackle in the Week 7 game with DT Gerald McCoy (calf) sidelined, according to head coach Dirk Koetter.
Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee (hamstring) is expected to play in the Week 7 game but will be on a snap count, according to executive vice president Stephen Jones.
Dallas Cowboys WR Tavon Austin (groin) will not undergo groin surgery at this time but is expected to be sidelined for several weeks.
Denver Broncos CB Adam Jones (thigh) likely will be able to play in the Week 8 game, according to head coach Vance Joseph.
Denver Broncos OT Jared Veldheer (knee) and LB Shane Ray (ankle, wrist) may have a chance to play in the Week 8 game, according to head coach Vance Joseph.
Los Angeles Rams PK Greg Zuerlein (groin) fully participated in practice Friday, Oct. 19, and is not on the injury report for Week 7.
Fantasy Spin: Zuerlein is one of the top kickers in the NFL and is a must-start option in all leagues when he is healthy.
Los Angeles Rams WR Cooper Kupp (knee) did not participate in practice Friday, Oct. 19, and has been ruled out for Week 7. DT Michael Brockers (shoulder), LB Matt Longacre (back), WR Josh Reynolds (hand), OG Rodger Saffold (knee), C John Sullivan (non-injury) and OT Andrew Whitworth (non-injury) fully participated in practice and are not on the injury report.
Free-agent WR Auden Tate was signed to the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad Friday, Oct. 19.
Miami Dolphins WR DeVante Parker (quadriceps) said he will be available for the Week 7 game but is not sure how much playing time he will be able to handle because of the injury.
Fantasy Spin: Parker has been limited to only two games because of injuries and has posted only 40 yards in those games. Owners probably should avoid him even if he is active for the game.
Oakland Raiders RB Jalen Richard is expected to see a bump in workload with RB Marshawn Lynch (groin) sidelined. Richard has just three touches when the team is leading, and 39 touches when tied or trailing, but that is expected to change with just RB Doug Martin standing in the way.
Fantasy Spin: Richard will likely see plenty of targets out of the backfield, as he has shown good hands in the past. Doug Martin is currently projected to be the lead back heading out of the bye in Week 8, but many expect Richard to be the biggest winner in terms of fantasy value in the Oakland backfield.