Jacksonville Jaguars starting left tackle Luke Joeckel told reporters on Thursday that he intends to play this Sunday in Cincinnati. "That’s the plan," Joeckel said via the Florida Times-Union. "I have to go through the protocol but I anticipate being back." Per Ryan O'Halloran, Joeckel said that he sustained the first quarter concussion during a field goal attempt last week.
Joeckel said he was concussed on a Jaguars’ field goal attempt when he got a "knee or thigh to the top my head. … I don't remember much after that. My vision was definitely screwed up." Joeckel said it was first-ever concussion. The symptoms started to disappear Monday morning and he was symptom-free throughout Tuesday.
According to the official injury report, Joeckel was limited on Thursday. The big test will be Friday's practice. If all goes well, he's playing. However, that decision will be made prior to the team's flight to Cincinnati on Saturday.
Luke Joeckel, a first-round pick during the '13 NFL draft, started five games last season before fracturing his right ankle on Oct. 9 against the Rams in St. Louis. Pro Football Focus had graded Joeckel this year with an overall score of -9.2 (second to quarterback Blake Bortles as worst on the team). Pass protection, with two sacks and 20 pressures (as well as -6.0 pass protection score via PFF), has been an issue. However, to be fair, he has been improving.
*** OTHER INJURIES
Cornerback Dwayne Gratz (groin) was limited for a second consecutive practice. The former third-round draft pick, who has started five games this year, has been stronger against the run (+1.2) than he has in coverage (-2.4)... however, he's improved over the last three weeks with a combined pass coverage grade (+0.4... don't be snarky, that is better).
Nickel corner Will Blackmon fractured his index finger against the Dolphins last week and will not play Sunday.
"He’s played every snap in nickel, so there’s a lot of experience that we'd lose if he can't play," Jaguars defensive coordinator Bob Babich said via the Florida Times-Union. Blackmon has covered 37 passes, with 75.7 percent leading to a completion for 343 yards receiving -- half of those yards were acquired after the reception.
According to Babich, safety Sherrod Martin or cornerbacks Peyton Thompson and Aaron Colvin could replace Blackmon on Sunday. Writes Hays Carlyon:
Martin, a fifth-year veteran, seems the most likely choice. Thompson was just signed off the practice squad and Colvin has practiced once all season after recovering from a knee injury.
Defensive end Andre Branch, a former second-rounder in the 2012 NFL draft, will not play after suffering a groin injury two weeks ago against the Cleveland Browns. He's expected to be out for, at least, six weeks. Branch, who posted six quarterback sacks in 2013, had already recorded three this season. His replacement, Ryan Davis, posted two sacks last week against the Miami Dolphins. Per SB Nation's Jacksonville Jaguars website, Big Cat Country:
"Missing Branch didn't seem to be a big loss at all," writes Alfie Crow with Big Cat Country. "In fact all it did was get Ryan Davis on the field more and he picked up two more sacks on the season, as well as a hit on the quarterback and another hurry."
Defensive end Chris Clemons, linebacker Geno Hayes and defensive tackle Roy Miller were granted veteran rest days on Thursday.
Defensive end Chris Clemons, linebacker Geno Hayes and defensive tackle Roy Miller all with vets days off on Thursday. #Jaguars— John Oehser (@JohnOehser) October 30, 2014
After being limited on Wednesday, wide receiver Allen Hurns was a full participant on Thursday. Hurns, an undrafted free agent out of the University of Miami, is second among all AFC rookies with three touchdown receptions.
Make sure you stay tuned at Big Cat Country for Jaguars updates.