In this series, Michael DiRocco counts down the 10 plays that shaped the Jacksonville Jaguars' season.
Play No. 9: Joeckel goes down
Situation: Second-and-1 from the St. Louis 48-yard line.
Score: Jacksonville leading 7-0.
Time: 3:50 remaining in the first quarter.
DiRocco’s take: Luke Joeckel lasted less than a quarter at his natural position. The No. 2 overall pick began the season at right tackle because the Jaguars already had a left tackle in Eugene Monroe. Joeckel moved to left tackle after GM David Caldwell traded Monroe to Baltimore days before the Jaguars’ game at St. Louis. Early returns were positive, because Joeckel limited defensive end Robert Quinn, who finished the season with 19.0 sacks, on the Jaguars’ first three drives. On the second play of their fourth possession, however, Joeckel got his right leg caught underneath him in a pile and suffered a fractured right ankle that ended his season. Joeckel wasn’t devastated, but pretty darn close. He was so excited to return to his natural position and had admitted that he didn’t quite feel right playing right tackle. The silver lining is that the injury happened early enough that Joeckel is expected to be completely healthy by the time OTAs begin in April.
Season impact: With Joeckel’s injury, the Jaguars were suddenly down to their No. 3 and 4 tackles forced into starting roles for 11 games. Cameron Bradfield, who started 12 games at right tackle in 2012, moved to left tackle. Austin Pasztor went in at right tackle and played solid football, showing Caldwell and coach Gus Bradley he deserves a chance to prove he can become a fixture at the spot. The offensive line played better in the second half of the season than it did in the first half as it adjusted to the zone-blocking scheme and mixed in more man-blocking schemes.
Quote: "That was probably the hardest part. I finally get to live my dream, play left tackle in the NFL, and got less than a quarter and then this happens. You know, God puts you in these situations, and the only thing you can take from it is to get stronger. Just got to call on Him, call on the people that are really important in my life that’ll help me through this, and come back better and stronger from all of it." -- Joeckel