The Jaguars made over their receiving corps this offseason, letting Allen Robinson walk into free agency ( ), signing Donte Moncrief and . Unfortunately for Jacksonville, a nasty injury to Lee suffered in Jacksonville's Week 3 preseason game over the weekend will end his season prematurely.
on the Jaguars' second series of the game with a knee injury that certainly appeared serious.
On Monday, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone confirmed the receiver would miss the season.
Coach Doug Marrone:— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) August 27, 2018
"Marqise Lee suffered a knee injury and will have surgery.
Later today he will be placed on IR."
The play in question involved Falcons safety Damontae Kazee going low to tackle Lee and the wide receiver's knee buckling in brutal fashion.
After the game, Jaguars cornerback Jalen Ramsey blamed the NFL for because they don't want to get flagged.
"You can't be mad at 27 [Kazee]," Ramsey said. "You have to be mad at the NFL; not mad at them, but that is how the rule is. People are scared to tackle normal because I guess they don't want to do helmet-to-helmet and get flagged. ... Game-changing stuff could happen. You don't really want to blame anyone, but you feel bad for him. I don't know, man, that's just tough to see it happen to one of my teammates, period, but you can't really blame 27."
Kazee, for his part, made sure to point out how unintentional the injury to Lee was when he tweeted about it after the game.
And no one thinks he was trying to hurt Lee. But it is completely possible that his decision to dive at Lee's knee was related to the new rule: guys who are playing in these games are trying to make rosters or trying to win starting spots and they're doing so while trying to adjust to a new rule that completely changed the way players tackle.
We've seen this before --where T.J. Ward went low and busted up his knee. When you demand that players take the helmet out of the game and you start flagging guys for anything resembling helmet-to-helmet contact, you are -- unintentionally or not -- asking them to tackle other players low. Here was Ward after that game back in 2013:
"It was a decision I made just to make a tackle on a big man and unfortunately he got hurt, but if I would've hit up high, there's a chance I would get fined and all that other stuff," Ward said. "I'm just being safe."
There's no official poll on this yet, but I would guess a large majority of NFL players would prefer a hit to the head versus a hit to the knee, because the former is a long-term issue and the latter is a short-term issue that can potentially reduce their livelihood and ability to make money on the field.
Jacksonville is surprisingly deep at wide receiver, with Moncrief, Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook all interesting names on the depth chart. They also drafted D.J. Chark and still have Rashad Greene sleeping on the depth chart. But as Pete Prisco pointed out on the Pick Six Podcast -- subscribe to our daily NFL podcast right here! -- Lee was going to be the guy on 3rd and 7, the Jaguars' chain mover.
The depth will allow guys to step up, but it's a concerning start to the year for a Jaguars offense that many people have high hopes for. It's also a concerning start for the new helmet rule, should players continue to blame injuries on the NFL's decision to shift the rules in a very drastic fashion.