It’s too early to say if Eugene Monroe (right knee sprain) and Eben Britton (right calf strain), the Jacksonville Jaguars’ starting tackles who missed the preseason opener, will be back for Saturday’s home preseason game against Miami.
And the Jaguars would rather they rest and recover now than deal with injuries later.
Still, a team looking to form an offensive line personality and do better protecting quarterback David Garrard is missing quality time to build cohesion with its top two draft picks from 2009 in place.
Coach Jack Del Rio told the Jacksonville media Monday that he and his staff worry about everything but advised reporters not to worry.
Del Rio: “Obviously [I] would love to have those guys in there. Two of our best defensive linemen, two of our best offensive linemen were not available. So the good news is they’re getting better and they’re going to be healthy soon and we’ll be able to continue on. The bad news is that we’re losing this opportunity to kind of do the things that you should be doing this time of year to build the continuity and to understand the way it’s going to be and all that type of things.
“So we’ll have to do the best we can with the situation that we’re in and it’s paramount that our guys stay in it mentally, that they be conditioned as much as they can without aggravating what it is that’s keeping them out, and so we’re doing that to the best of our ability and then you just have to deal with it.
“It’s not the scenario I’d draw up as ideal. We’d like to have everybody working 100 percent and building that continuity, but it is what we’re dealing with and we’re dealing with it the best that we can. The guys are healing, we are conditioning where we can with them, we are keeping them into it mentally and as a football team we carry on. That’s what you always do. Things happen throughout the course of the year. You’ve got to build that mentality as a team, you have to move on.”
Britton was dealing with back and leg issues from early in camp, but Monroe looked fantastic right out of the gate. I expect both to make significant jumps in their second years and for the Jaguars' big offensive line question to center around whether Vince Manuwai can return to form and win the right guard spot or if he’ll lose out to Kynan Forney or Justin Smiley, or if the Jaguars would put Uche Nwaneri back on the right.
We could be a long way off from knowing the answer to that one.