JACKSONVILLE -- Senior writer John Oehser's five takeaways from Thursday as the Jaguars prepared to play the Miami Dolphins at EverBank Field Sunday at 4:05 p.m. …
1)Backup plan.We begin Thursday takeaways with the Jaguars' offensive line, a focus in the wake of Sunday's ankle injury to left tackle Luke Joeckel. The line allowed one sack in the two-plus quarters Joeckel played. After he left the game after re-injuring the ankle in the third quarter, the line allowed four sacks. That included two allowed by his replacement, Sam Young. Joeckel has missed practice the last two days, walking without a boot Thursday after wearing one Wednesday. If Joeckel can't play, Young – a sixth-year veteran – will be the starter. As for Young's backup, Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said that likely will be Luke Bowanko, who has worked at left and right tackle since losing the center competition to Stefen Wisniewski during training camp. The next option would be moving right tackle Jermey Parnell to left tackle, something Bradley said would only happen in "an extreme case."
Check out images from Thursday practice held at Episcopal High School.
2)Ready if needed …As for Bowanko, he doesn't expect perfection if he plays left tackle Sunday, but he believes he will be ready. Bowanko, one of two offensive linemen made inactive for the opener along with rookie A.J. Cann, began working extensively at the two tackle positions after Wisniewski was named the starter August 24. "You have to be professional and be ready step in in a situation like that, so I'm ready for my name to be called," Bowanko said, adding with a laugh, "Will it be perfect? No, I probably won't be an All-Pro left tackle if it comes to that, but I expect to go out and get the job done and help the this team win." Bowanko said the primary difference working at center and left tackle has been balance and footwork. "It's all balance and body position," he said. "You work all offseason even in your footwork and the next thing you know you're setting on one side or the other. It's still football at the end of the day. I've come a thousand miles, but there's still a lot of room to grow."
3.Familiar faces.Don't expect Jared Odrick to be an emotional mess Sunday. Yes, the defensive end signed with the Jaguars as a free agent from the Dolphins this past March. And yes, there's a human, emotional element involved when playing old friends. But the sixth-year veteran said he doesn't expect playing his former team to dominate his thoughts or change his approach. "Sure, it's weird, but it's the nature of the business and I'm not the first one who has done it," he said. "I'll treat it like a game, prepare and watch film like I would for any other game. I don't think it's going to feel too weird. You're out there to do a job and not chit-chat about past endeavors, so it will be a good time playing football." Can it be motivation? "It can be, but you can't put yourself out of your game or out of your routine just because you're playing your former team."
4.All for one.Pretty much everything Blake Bortles had to say Wednesday was lost in the reaction to "KindergartenGate," but Bortles on Wednesday also discussed his reaction to receivers dropping passes. His response? Pretty much what you would expect. Bortles hardly considers himself perfect, and he doesn't behave as such on the field. "They take a responsibility and great pride making plays," Bortles said. "They're not yelling at me when I throw a ball five yards over their head out of bounds, so I'm not going to do the same thing to them when they drop a pass. It's things that we expect from each other and when it doesn't go the way it's supposed to we know there was a mistake made and it needs to be fixed and corrected. Those are things that were addressed and we're going to continue to work at it."
5.Playing through it.One area to watch Friday and through the weekend is cornerback. With Dwayne Gratz out Thursday with an ankle injury, the position now has two players on the injury report: starter Aaron Colvin and Gratz. Colvin, who sustained a shoulder injury against Carolina, expects to play through the injury and has practiced full the last two days. Gratz left practice Wednesday and did not work Thursday, with Bradley saying "We'll see how quickly he recovers from it." Look for Gratz's status to be updated Friday, with Demetrius McCray moving into the third corner role if Gratz can't play. That position plays outside corner in passing situations with Colvin moving to the inside.