Two key receivers who are part of a Los Angeles Rams offense that is second in the league in scoring at 30.4 points per game began their NFL careers playing for Jaguars coach Doug Marrone in Buffalo.

 

Sammy Watkins and Robert Woods played three seasons together with the Bills, including Marrone’s final year as the team’s coach in 2014.

“I think they’re both outstanding,” Marrone said.

Woods played two seasons under Marrone after being selected in the second round in 2013. Buffalo traded up to take Watkins with the fourth overall pick of the following draft, adding to what the team then hoped was an ascending offense.

Watkins caught 65 passes for a team-leading 982 yards and six touchdowns as a rookie. Woods had 65 catches for 699 yards and five scores that season.

Marrone opted out of the remainder of his contract after the 2014 season but believes the Jaguars’ secondary will be challenged Sunday by his former players.

“Sammy is explosive and makes a lot of plays,” Marrone said. “Robert is tough as hell, someone that is very competitive and makes a lot of football plays for them.”

Woods signed with the Rams in March after four seasons with the Bills. He has 17 catches for 252 yards through five games.

Los Angeles acquired Watkins via trade with Buffalo in August. The fourth-year veteran has 14 catches for 211 yards and two touchdowns during what has been an uneven start to his Rams career.

Both of Watkins’ scores came during a win over San Francisco in Week 3, but he was held without a catch last Sunday when Los Angeles lost to Seattle.

Watkins met with Rams coach Sean McVay on Monday, meaning it’s likely he will be more involved in the offense against the Jaguars.

Last week, Pittsburgh receiver Antonio Brown expressed disappointment with his role in the offense and was targeted a whopping 19 times against the Jaguars and finished with 10 catches for 157 yards.

The Jaguars are preparing for both of Los Angeles’ receivers to figure prominently into an offense that also includes running back Todd Gurley on Sunday.

“They’re both threats downfield, threats after the catch,” cornerback A.J. Bouye said. “They run good routes and they have a good quarterback in [Jared] Goff.”

Smith recognized

Jaguars linebacker Telvin Smith was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week on Wednesday after piling up a game-high 10 tackles and returning an interception 28 yards for a touchdown against Pittsburgh.

It’s the third time Smith has earned the recognition, which is the most in franchise history.

Smith is the only player this season to record at least 10 tackles and score a defensive touchdown in a game. Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Derrick Johnson was the last to accomplish the feat in Week 3 of last season.

In addition his award, Smith was asked about NFL commissioner Roger Goodell’s letter this week to team owners requesting players stand for the National Anthem. Fifteen Jaguars players took a knee (Smith was not one of them) before the Sept. 24 Baltimore game, but have not before the last two games.

“We’ll see when it happens; we’ll see when it happens,” Smith said when asked about Goodell’s request/rule.

A cryptic response considering the Jaguars feel they have made their statement. On Sept. 30, the players announced they would stand for the anthem. They stood and did not lock arms before Sunday’s win at Pittsburgh.

Smith said “the oldest trick in the book is divide and conquer,” which can be interpreted a few ways, chiefly that the players could be disappointed the commissioner has re-kindled the story after the Jaguars in particular have moved on.

Linder still out

Eleven players were listed on the Jaguars’ injury report, but only center Brandon Linder (illness) did not practice Wednesday.

Linder missed last Wednesday’s practice, was limited last Thursday and Friday and did not play against Pittsburgh. Tyler Shatley, who started against the Steelers, took the first-team practice snaps.

Included on the list of limited participants were receiver Jaelen Strong (hamstring), strong safety Jarrod Wilson (shoulder) and linebacker Lerentee McCray (knee), all of whom missed the Steelers game.

Cornerback Jalen Ramsey (ankle) was on the stationary bike during the media viewing period. New injuries were tailback Chris Ivory (hip flexor) and left guard Patrick Omameh (hip flexor).

Times-Union reporter Ryan O’Halloran contributed to this report.

Phillip Heilman: (904) 359-4063