The Jacksonville Jaguars will be missing their biggest offseason acquisition, and could be without another offensive weapon Sunday when they face Carolina.
Former Denver tight end Julius Thomas is expected to be out about a month after undergoing surgery on his broken finger, while second-year wideout Marqise Lee's status for the opener is in question because of a hamstring injury.
Jacksonville lost defensive end Dante Fowler Jr., the third overall pick in this year's draft, to a season-ending knee injury on the first day of rookie minicamp.
The good news for the Jaguars is quarterback Blake Bortles is healthy after getting sacked 55 times as a rookie.
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Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Bortles looked to be "much improved" during the preseason.
Carolina defensive back Bene' Benwikere, who trained with Bortles in California before the 2014 draft, said Bortles is at his best throwing from the pocket, assuming it doesn't collapse.
"I know he's got a good arm, just from the training aspect. Then I saw him last year while I was following him," Benwikere said. "He seems like he's staying in the pocket, getting the ball out and doing his thing now."