JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars’ tight-end position has taken on a dramatically different look.
Just days after one starting tight end was ruled out for the season, the Jaguars on Friday announced that Julius Thomas has been ruled out for the team’s game against Buffalo Sunday.
Thomas, a high-profile free-agency signing during the 2015 offseason who remains the Jaguars’ leading pass-catching tight end, was among four players ruled out by the Jaguars on Friday. He will miss the Buffalo game because of a back injury.
Marcedes Lewis, the team’s most-tenured offensive player and the team’s best run-blocking tight end, was placed on injured reserve early this week with a calf injury.
“Seeing how the week was going, we were able to game plan a ton in case this would happen,” Head Coach Gus Bradley said as the Jaguars (2-8) prepared to play the Buffalo Bills (5-5) at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York, Sunday at 1 p.m.
“We will just move on. Guys will step up – they’ll have their opportunities. Like always, you feel like when guys get their chance, they get a chance to shine, they’ll get it.”
With Lewis and Thomas unavailable, Neal Sterling and Ben Koyack are the only two healthy tight ends on the active roster. Practice-squad tight end Alex Ellis was mentioned this week as a possibility to play against the Bills.
The Jaguars other players ruled out Friday were linebacker Dan Skuta (back), defensive end Chris Smith (eye) and defensive end Jared Odrick (shoulder).
Wide receivers Arrelious Benn and Aaron Colvin, each of whom have worked limited this week after sustaining concussions in a loss to the Detroit Lions last week, were listed as questionable on the Friday injury report. Defensive tackle Abry Jones (ankle) and running back T.J. Yeldon (ankle) also were listed as questionable.
Skuta had been sharing time with rookie Myles Jack at the Otto position before missing the Detroit game, and Odrick will be replaced in the starting lineup at strong-side defensive end by Tyson Alualu for the fifth time this season.
Colvin is the team’s nickel cornerback. Yeldon has been starting at running back and sharing carries with Chris Ivory. Jones has been starting at nose tackle since Roy Miller sustained a season-ending Achilles injury against the Oakland Raiders on October 23.
“There might be quite a little bit of shuffling with that,” Bradley said of the absences of Jones and Odrick. “We’ll see with Abry. He’s still day-to-day. The arrow is still going up on him, so hopefully. Though it might not be though, Sunday we’ll decide that, but we have plan A and plan B ready for it.”
Bradley said the “arrow” also is up in terms of Yeldon playing.
“I think the plan for him will be, ‘How much does he play?’’’ Bradley said of Yeldon. “I think that’s more the question.”
Quarterback Blake Bortles, who practiced full all week after playing through a right-shoulder injury against Detroit, was removed from the injury report and is expected to play Sunday. Defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (shoulder), wide receiver Bryan Walters (concussion) and left tackle Kelvin Beachum (knee) also were removed from the injury report and are expected to play Sunday.