The Jacksonville Jaguars are expected to activate Dede Westbrook off injured reserve this week, and the rookie receiver has some outsized expectations for his potential debut Sunday against the Cleveland Browns.
"My expectations are high," Westbrook told SportsRadio 930 on Wednesday, via ESPN.com's Michael DiRocco. "I always set the standard high for myself. For me, and this has nothing to do with the Cleveland Browns at all, but my expectation is a 200-yard receiving game.
"Of course that's going to come with me and Blake [Bortles] being on the same page most of the game, but at the end of the day, that's the expectations that I have for myself this weekend."
With Allen Hurns hurt, a spot opens for Westbrook not only to play his first regular season game, but have a big role alongside Marquise Lee, Keelan Cole, and Jaydon Mickens. With Allen Robinson out for the year, the Jags need a playmaker on the edge. But 200 yards? We're talking Anquan Boldin and his 10-catch, 217-yard, 2-TD level debut. Even Randy Moss put up only 95 yards and two scores in his first NFL game.
Westbrook, however, didn't back down from his Cliff of Confidence.
"I think it's possible," he said. "I know myself and I know my capabilities."
Westbrook displayed speed and big-play ability this preseason, going for more than 115 yards in two games and adding two TDs of 42-plus yards before missing the start of the regular season after undergoing core muscle surgery.
The Jaguars could have activated Westbrook the past two weeks but chose to keep him on the sidelines. With the injury to Hurns, it's likely Jacksonville unveil their explosive receiver.
"I don't think you can say this is what we expect out of him, this is how many catches we expect and yards," Bortles said. "I think it's an opportunity for him to go out there and show what he can do. I think he got the chance to do it a little bit in the preseason before he got banged up and I know everybody around here has a lot of confidence in his ability of what he can do, so I'm excited to see that."
We don't expect Westbrook to come close to having 200 yards Sunday against Cleveland, but good for him for having the confidence to put that out in the world. What the rookie should bring to the table is deep speed that will put pressure on the safety and open underneath routes. With Bortles being painfully off on his deep shots, can the Jaguars connect on enough bombs to take advantage of defenses, even against one that's given up a lot of big plays like the Browns?