JACKSONVILLE – Luke Joeckel is on injured reserve for a second time in four seasons.
Joeckel is expected to undergo surgery sometime this week after sustaining a knee injury against Indianapolis this past Sunday. He has been placed on injured reserve.
The injury was a difficult blow for a player who started three of the season's first four games at left guard and who had played well after an offseason position switch.
"It's unfortunate," Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Tuesday as the team gathered at EverBank Field during its 2016 bye week. "Your heart and soul goes out to him."
Teammates also expressed empathy for Joeckel, a starter in 40 games over the past four seasons.
"I feel real bad for him," wide receiver Allen Hurns said. "He's a guy who comes in, works his butt off and never complains about anything no matter what happens. It's unfortunate for him to go through that situation, but we're all here for him."
Joeckel, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft, missed the final 11 games of his rookie season with a broken ankle before starting 16 games at left tackle the past two seasons. He moved to left guard this season after the team signed left tackle Kelvin Beachum as an unrestricted free agent this past offseason.
Joeckel, who had struggled at times in two seasons at left tackle, had appeared more consistent at left guard this season. He also played well at left tackle in a Week 3 loss to Baltimore that Beachum missed in the NFL's concussion protocol.
"Here's a guy who played tackle, went through a competition, made the move to do what's best for the team and gave to this team," Bradley said. "He gave in so many areas. It's not supposed to happen like this when a guy goes about it that way. That's the tough part of this whole deal."
Veteran Patrick Omameh played in Joeckel's place Sunday. Chris Reed, who had started at guard against the Ravens, was inactive. Omameh typically has been the Jaguars' "swing" lineman, meaning he is a reserve who can play tackle or guard in the event of an injury.
"He did a good job," Bradley said of Omameh.
Bradley said the team has yet to decide who will start at the spot with Joeckel out.
"We'll take a look at it now and see where we're at," he said. "That's the good thing about the bye week. We can have those conversations and see what's best."
Tight end Marcedes Lewis (hip) and defensive end Jared Odrick (triceps) are expected to play against the Chicago Bears on October 16, the team's first game after the bye week. Lewis sustained a hip pointer against Indianapolis and Odrick missed the final two games before the bye. Tight end Julius Thomas (elbow) also is expected to play against Chicago after missing this past Sunday's game.
Bradley on Tuesday discussed rookie Myles Jack, who made his first NFL start Sunday at the team's Otto linebacker position. A second-round selection in the 2016 NFL Draft, Jack started in place of Dan Skuta (hip) and registered four tackles. Jack's only previous defensive snaps had come as a backup middle linebacker late in a Week 2 loss at San Diego. Jack also had worked in practice at the weak-side linebacker position before beginning work at the Otto in recent weeks. "He was good for a week of playing it," Bradley said. "I think that him playing Mike [middle] and Will [weak side] helped him with that transition. I think we saw some splash plays, some plays where he really stood out, then some plays where we said, 'You know what? There is going to be a mistake here and there.' But his speed showed up." Bradley said Jack's role moving forward will be discussed during the bye week.
Jaguars quarterback Blake Bortles threw two touchdown passes with no interceptions and no lost fumbles against the Colts this past Sunday. That came after he committed seven turnovers in the first three games of the season, including back-to-back three-turnover games in losses to San Diego and Baltimore in Weeks 2 and 3. "He may have – in our minds – played his best game [of the season] – just because of the decision-making,'' Bradley said. "No turnovers. He took what was there. He tried to get some explosive plays, but when it wasn't there he made good decisions. He wanted to get back to kind of what was his strength, and he got closer to that."
"Sometimes when the bye week happens this early you look in the offseason and go, 'Oh, the bye week this early …' but it really is coming at a good time for us with our injuries and just where we're at. I think our players are appreciating it right now. We can get our health back and we [coaches] can spend more time on self-scout and some of these personnel decisions we have to make as well as scheme.''
--Jaguars HC Gus Bradley
"I think they wanted to win for each other – and for our fans. It's about the growth of this team and where we go from here. They said, 'You know what? We're capable of playing at this level. You come to a point where you're sick and tired of being sick and tired. That's what our guys did. They said, 'You know what? We're capable of playing better. We've got to finish these games. We know we have the ability to.''