JACKSONVILLE – One of the Jaguars' first serious injuries of the season is a season-ending one.
Ben Bartch will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury sustained in a loss to the Houston Texans this past Sunday, Head Coach Doug Pederson said Wednesday. The Jaguars had placed the starting left guard on injured reserve Tuesday.
Bartch, a fourth-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2020 NFL Draft, started 11 games in 2021 and the first five games this season.
"My heart goes out to him," Pederson said of Bartch Wednesday as the Jaguars (2-3) prepared to play the Indianapolis Colts (2-2-1) in an AFC South game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ind., Sunday at 1 p.m. "When he [Bartch] comes back next year, he'll be ready to go."
The Jaguars had been remarkably healthy through four games this season, going nearly two full weeks with no players on the injury report in Weeks 2 and 3. They also placed reserve outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson on injured reserve Tuesday, with Pederson saying Wednesday Chaisson is expected to return this season.
Veteran/guard center Tyler Shatley, the Jaguars' interior "swing" player, replaced Bartch against the Texans and Pederson said Shatley will start at left guard Sunday against Indianapolis.
"Anytime you have veteran backups, swing guys that go multiple spots, it's beneficial," Pederson said. "Shatley's one of those guys. Whether it's guard or center, it's just valuable to have."
Pederson also mentioned second-year veteran Walker Little, who competed with Jawaan Taylor at right tackle in 2022 Training Camp, when discussing left guard on Wednesday. He, too, mentioned second-year veteran Cole Van Lanen. The Jaguars selected Little in Round 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft and traded for Van Lanen with the Green Bay Packers this preseason.
"We've got options," Pederson said.
The Jaguars on Tuesday signed free-agent guard John Miller, who started 80 games over the past seven seasons with the Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals and Chicago Bears.
"When you lose a player like Ben, obviously you get that spot," Pederson said. "We did our due diligence the last couple of days and brought a few guys in to work out. We really feel comfortable with him (Miller). Now we just have to get him caught up to speed. He'll be in that rotation for potentially that seventh of eighth spot [on the offensive line Sunday]."