Luke Joeckel took another step toward being at full speed Wednesday.
The rookie right tackle and the second overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft has been dealing with a hip flexor that has sidelined him to the point he missed last week’s preseason game against the Jets.
It is believed that had it been a regular season game, Joeckel would have been in the team’s starting lineup.
The transition from playing left tackle to the right side had been smooth for Joeckel until the injury. He and left tackle Eugene Monroe give the Jaguars their best set of starters since the days of Tony Boselli and Leon Searcy.
Ironically, Searcy was originally a left tackle when he was drafted out of the University of Miami by the Steelers in 1992. When he signed with the Jaguars in 1996, the team moved him to the right side of the line and was equally successful.
The Jaguars are hoping the same success finds Joeckel.
As the Jaguars prepare their offensive line for the Eagles, the team will contend with a 3-4 defense that is also being introduced in Philadelphia for the first time.
A story written by Rich Hofmann on Philly.com last week outlined how the new 3-4 concept played well against the Carolina Panthers and their talented backfield.
“Fletcher Cox awoke from his Game 1 coma and was in the mix. Cedric Thornton was in the backfield a couple of times early,” said Hofmann. “There was a dropped interception by cornerback Brandon Boykin (and another in the third quarter). The first defense allowed only six points in the first half on two field goals. For the game, it was three field goals and a 14-9 victory.”
The Jaguars must be fully aware of these things as it prepares for its dress rehearsal in the third game of the preseason.
For years, the Eagles have been known for a successful defensive line that has had names like Reggie White, Jerome Brown, Mike Golic and Jason Babin attack quarterbacks at will and cause havoc for opponents and their running game.
Can the Jaguars, who are pretty set with its starting five for the offensive line, stop what appears to be a very fast group of defensive starters? If they are to be successful at moving the ball down the field, they had better be.
In other Jaguars’ news…
* Lightning played a role in the practice today. Play was halted as early morning weather interrupted team drills. According to Jaguars.com, the threat of lightning forced the players from the practice field after being out there 20 minutes and resulted in a 15-minute delay.
* Maurice Jones-Drew, Brad Meester and Roy Miller all having veteran’s days off.
* Will Rackley returned to practice on Wednesday after he had to stop practice due asthma-like symptoms Tuesday.