Stop me if you have heard this before, but the Jacksonville Jaguars secondary is banged up again.
After missing practice on Thursday, both Jaguars starting cornerbacks, Derek Cox and Rashean Mathis, are unlikely to be on the field this Sunday when the Detroit Lions come to EverBank Field.
Both Cox (back) and Mathis (groin) missed last week’s game against the high-powered Green Bay Packers offense and the Jaguars defense still managed to hold them to 186 passing yards, but the Packers were without their top two receivers. The Lions offense produces a bigger problem for a banged up Jaguars secondary in the form of All-Pro wide receiver Calvin Johnson.
Ordinarily, Cox would be tasked with covering a receiver the caliber of Johnson, but now keeping him in check on Sunday will likely become a team effort. The Jaguars will likely have to roll a safety over the top of Johnson to help the cornerbacks prevent Johnson from making big plays down the field.
With Cox and Mathis out, the Jaguars will count on William Middleton and rookie Mike Harris to play as well as they did last week. The Jaguars will keep veteran Aaron Ross in his role as slot cornerback where he has been most effective this year.
This back injury is the latest in a line of injuries that has kept the young corner out of 13 games over the past two seasons. Cox is due to be a free agent this offseason, but his tendency to be injured will likely prevent him from getting the huge deal he could have had if he could stay healthy. Most consider Cox a rising star at the cornerback position, but his injury prone nature has severely diminished his value.