JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines the Thursday that was as the Jaguars continue preparing for Sunday's Preseason Week 3 game against the Cincinnati Bengals at EverBank Field …
A LONG LOOK AT TACKLE
Kelvin Beachum has a chance to get a long stint at the position he covets Sunday.
That look also could be the last, best chance to determine who will start at left tackle when the Jaguars open the season September 11 against Green Bay.
Beachum, who has yet to play in the preseason as he returns from a torn anterior cruciate ligament sustained with Pittsburgh last season, has practiced all three days this week and could play in the Jaguars' Preseason Week 3 game against the Bengals Sunday.
If that happens, Jaguars offensive coordinator Greg Olson said Thursday it is likely Beachum will play exclusively at left tackle.
"[That] is what we are looking at now, trying to get him an extended playing time there," Olson said during his weekly media availability at EverBank Field Sunday.
Beachum is competing with Luke Joeckel for starting left tackle, with the player who doesn't start there likely starting at left guard. Joeckel, the starting left tackle the past two seasons, has played well the first two preseason games starting there.
While Olson said Joeckel likely will play left guard on Sunday, Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley emphasized that Sunday's lineup does not mean Beachum has won the left-tackle job.
"I told the coaches, 'Let's do it this way,' and the offensive line coaches agreed," Bradley said. "To us, it's more of a fact-finder. Let's see how Luke does. Let's see how Beachum does. We just need this look to try to collect all of the facts we can."
Bradley added that Beachum did well physically Thursday and that he has performed well in practice this week. Olson said one goal for Beachum Sunday is to "knock some of the rust off."
"I think there are a lot of things to look at," Olson said. "It is important to be able to function because we will show Joeckel probably at left guard. So being able to function with Luke Joeckel -- how is the communication between those two is a huge part of what we are trying to find out about him in this game.
"He [Beachum] has played at a high level in the past and [the Jaguars] just [want to] see continuous progress. He has had a good week, a good two days. … he is doing some good things, but [the objective Sunday is] just seeing some steady progress from him."
Bradley said Joeckel has looked good at both positions in the preseason and training camp.
"It's so much in our favor that we can say that about him," Bradley said. "That's a challenge, to play both positions. He has excelled at both."
Take a look back at practice images from Thursday as the Jaguars prepare to host Cincinnati on Sunday.
BETTER AND BETTER
One notable thing about Joeckel is how he has handled the competition for left tackle from a mental perspective, with Bradley saying Thursday his attitude and approach has been exemplary since the team signed Beachum in March to compete for his position. The other noteworthy thing is how well Joeckel has played, with this past Saturday's preseason game against the Buccaneers one of his strongest performances in four seasons. "There definitely has been improvement, and that's all I can focus on," Joeckel said. "It's a lot of stuff. It's another year in the system. It's another year of me feeling comfortable and me having the right mindset each day. That's important as much as physical stuff."
BACK AT IT
Wide receiver Marqise Lee and running back T.J. Yeldon returned to practice Thursday after not participating Wednesday. Both players had planned days off Wednesday.
Tight end Marcedes Lewis, wide receiver Allen Hurns, running back Chris Ivory, middle linebacker Paul Posluszny and tight end Julius Thomas did not practice Thursday. All had planned days off.
Other Jaguars players out of practice Thursday: safety James Sample (shoulder), offensive tackle Jeff Linkenbach (concussion protocol), offensive tackle Josh Wells (thumb), defensive tackle Sheldon Day (back) and defensive tackle Roy Miller (quad).
Offensive lineman Luke Bowanko (hip) and defensive end Jonathan Woodard (Achilles) remain on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
"We know he is a competitive player. We know it is important to him. I think he has a passion to play. He is doing all that he can to get out there. …We are just happy with the group."
---Olson on Beachum and the Jaguars' offensive line
"We have been good in terms of our shifting and our motioning. We have to clean up some penalties. That has been an issue. I would like to see our twos and threes play better, as well. … In this game here, we are planning a certain number of plays with our starters and we would love to see based upon what we have seen this first two games, just continued growth and the ability to move the football."
---Olson on his hopes for Preseason Week 3 versus Cincinnati