JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars could be testing depth again Sunday.
This time, they'll not only test it against the defending Super Bowl champions, they may have a tougher test along the offensive line than originally expected this week.
Right guard Brandon Linder and left tackle Luke Joeckel, starters on the Jaguars' offensive line, did not practice Friday – and both were listed as questionable on the team's final injury report of the week. They are among eight active Jaguars players listed as questionable, doubtful or out entering the weekend.
Also on Friday, starting strong safety Johnathan Cyprien was listed as questionable after missing practice Wednesday and Thursday with a calf injury.
All three players – Cyprien, Joeckel and Linder – could be game-time decisions, meaning a decision could be made on playing status after a pre-game workout Sunday morning.
"I would say Cyp, Joeckel and Linder will be the three guys that we test out," Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said as the AFC South-leading Jaguars (1-1) prepared to play the AFC East-leading New England Patriots (2-0) at Gillette Stadium Sunday at 1 p.m.
Joeckel did not play against Miami Sunday and practiced limited with an ankle injury Wednesday and Thursday. Linder sustained a shoulder injury Wednesday and has not practiced since.
Sam Young is expected to make a second consecutive start at left tackle if Joeckel can't play, while second-year NFL veteran Tyler Shatley could make his first NFL start in place of Linder.
If Cyprien can't play, veteran Josh Evans and rookie James Sample likely will share time at strong safety. That was the scenario last week, with Sample starting and Evans playing extensively in the second half. Cyprien was listed as limited Friday.
The Jaguars released their final injury report of the week Friday, with tight end Julius Thomas ruled out for a third consecutive game to start the season with a hand injury and cornerback Dwayne Gratz ruled out for a second consecutive game with an ankle injury.
Defensive end Andre Branch (knee), defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks (knee) and running back Denard Robinson (knee) were listed as doubtful, which means they are highly unlikely to play. Neither Robinson nor Branch practiced this week, with Branch missing the first two regular-season games and Robinson sustaining a sprained medial collateral ligament against Miami.
Marks, recovering from January reconstructive knee surgery, missed the first two games of the regular season. He practiced limited all three days this week, his most extensive practice work of the season.
"He took service team reps today and went through it, so it's a good sign for him," Bradley said Friday. "I know I said last week he was just going through the beginning stages of it but this week he had a really good week."
Bradley said the hope is that Marks could take some team repetitions next week.
"We'll see how he comes through this," Bradley said. "We'll see."
Running back Toby Gerhart (abdomen), wide receiver Allen Hurns (thigh) and wide receiver Marqise Lee (hamstring) all were listed as probable, and are expected to play. Gerhart worked full Thursday after missing the first two games of the regular season.
"It sounds good," Bradley said. "He finished yesterday (Thursday) and felt good and into today. Although it (Friday practice) was a walkthrough I know he feels good, so that's exciting."
Lee returned last Sunday after being out since early in training camp and Hurns worked limited Thursday because of thigh soreness.
Also on Friday, Bradley said the team has yet to make a final decision on who will return punts Sunday. With wide receiver Rashad Greene on the injured reserve/designated-to-return list until November, Bradley early this week said cornerback Nick Marshall, running back Corey Grant and wide receiver Bryan Walters could return punts.
"We'll make that decision as we get closer," Bradley said. "We've got three guys that are capable."