Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Luke Joeckel, who suffered a concussion during a first quarter field goal attempt last week against Miami, is expected to play Sunday against the Cincinnati Bengals. Joeckel sat out during Wednesday's practice before he was cleared for non-contact drills on Thursday. The second-year offensive tackle was a full participant on Friday and will make the trip to Cincinnati.
"I’d be shocked if we didn't (have Joeckel Sunday)," Head Coach Gus Bradley said via Jaguars.com. Joeckel said that he feels ready to play.
"I missed out on Wednesday’s practice, but I’ve done the walkthroughs and all that stuff," Joeckel said. "I feel good to go. I've watched plenty of film, so I’m ready to go."
Cornerback Dwayne Gratz, who was limited for every practice this week, was listed as probable on the team's injury report. 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).
Will Blackmon, who is the team's nickel corner, and defensive end Andre Branch, have already been declared as out (neither are making the trip).
Branch, who suffered a groin injury two weeks ago against the Cleveland Browns, will be replaced by Ryan Davis, who generated multiple sacks last week against the Dolphins.
Blackmon's absence is of some note. "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 cornerback Peyton Thompson 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.