Luke Joeckel fractures ankle days after Jaguars trade of Eugene Monroe
The latest piece of evidence that this simply is not the Jaguars’ year: No. 2 overall pick Luke Joeckel, making his first start at left tackle after Jacksonville traded away Eugene Monroe earlier this week, suffered a high-ankle fracture in Sunday’s loss to the Rams. The team announced after the game that Joeckel would miss the remainder of the regular season.
Joeckel was rolled up on while blocking — an all-too-familiar mishap for offensive linemen. He initially tried to get back to his feet, only to crumple back to the turf. The Jaguars announced Joeckel was questionable to return at first, then later downgraded his status.
The Jaguars slid Joeckel from right tackle to the left side for Week 5, with Monroe now in Baltimore. Joeckel played LT at Texas A&M and is the team’s future at that position. Without him in the lineup, though, the Jaguars were down to two undrafted players at the tackle spots — Austin Pasztor on the right and Cameron Bradfield on the left, in relief of Joeckel. Bradfield started 12 games for the Jaguars last season.
Jacksonville also lost starting quarterback Blaine Gabbert to another injury during Sunday’s game. Gabbert strained his hamstring in the second half and was replaced by Chad Henne.
It’s the Joeckel injury, though, that will really sting for the Jaguars. Part of why the franchise felt Monroe was a movable piece was because it wanted to get Joeckel locked in at left tackle, where the Jaguars hope he’ll play for the next several years. A season-ending injury and any necessary surgery/rehab will rob the rookie tackle of further development in 2013, putting him back pretty close to square one for 2014.
The Jaguars have offensive tackle DeMarcus Love on the practice squad, so he may be a candidate for promotion in Joeckel’s stead. They also figure to look around on the free-agent market to see if anyone might be able to step in and help.
Regardless of the temporary solution, Joeckel’s unfortunate setback was the last thing a rebuilding Jaguars team needed, in a season that’s already gone horribly wrong.