Kevin Elliott, now a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars, made his first NFL start yesterday in a 17-10 loss to the New York Jets.
The Orlando native got the
nod from Head Coach Mike Mularkey less than 24 hours before the start. A
rash of injuries in the receiver corps switched the rookie from
understudy to starter just like that.
In the end, it was not the
performance he wished for, but it was enough to show on this day at
Everbank Field, that with a little work and experience, Elliott could be
a solid professional player.
Elliott snagged three receptions for 38 yards, including a crucial
first down of 22-yards early in the game. He dropped two passes, with
one of those clearly a case of he and quarterback Chad Henne not being
on the same page. Even the final offensive play of the game for the
Jaguars seemed to be clouded in confusion. Elliott broke on an out
pattern and was wide open near the goal line, but Henne threw the ball
for a corner route. It underscores the work it takes for a quarterback
and receiver to get on the same page.
Elliott, squatting on the sidelines after the game with a look of
reflection, soon came around with the encouragement of teammates.
"It's always hard when you work hard all the way to the end and you
don't get it done. It's another week we've got to put in the work and
go back to the drawing board," Elliott said.
Mularkey told the Florida Times-Union that the experience Elliott picked up on Sunday will help him become a better player.
"We are averaging four to five drops a game," Mularkey said. "That’s
not acceptable no matter who it is. Kevin has had too many drops. He
hasn’t had as many opportunities as some of these other guys, but he has
had drops. Those are uncontested plays that he should make and I know
he knows he should make. You’re talking about not a lot of playing time.
He’s a rookie. The experience is invaluable."