Jacksonville Jaguars: Eugene Monroe

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Luke Joeckel has participated in hundreds of practices and workouts throughout his football career, yet he was pretty nervous on Monday night.

The Jacksonville Jaguars’ left tackle was apprehensive about how his surgically repaired right ankle would handle the most strain it has been under since he injured it during the Oct. 6, 2013 game against St. Louis.

That anxiety ended once he did his first few reps in position drills.

"Once I was back out there on the field, everything was back to normal," Joeckel said.

[+] EnlargeLuke Joeckel
AP Photo/Tom DiPaceLuke Joeckel played left tackle briefly in 2013, and is excited to get back in the lineup for the Jags.
That was Joeckel’s goal ever since he was carted off the Edward Jones Dome turf in just the fifth game of his rookie season. After the surgery (which revealed more damage than originally thought), the nine weeks in which he had to stay off his right foot, and the countless hours of rehab and treatment, all Joeckel wanted was things the way they were before the injury.

Once he reached that point, he could resume his spot as the starting left tackle, which was a job he held for less than a quarter before the injury.

"I’ve really never been hurt in football," Joeckel said. "The last time I was hurt was sophomore year in high school. Never missed a game or a practice in college. You get kind of negative about it all, but once you get back and really once you’re able to start working out again, that’s when you start feeling good.

"When you’re just taking your pain meds and lying in bed and sitting on the recliner, that’s when you feel like a piece of crap. When you start working out again you’re ready to start getting back into football and feeling good."

More important to the Jaguars is that Joeckel looks good. It has only been two days of OTAs, but coach Gus Bradley said the 6-foot-6, 306-pound Joeckel looks just like the player they saw dominating the Rams’ defensive front in his first action at left tackle.

"I can say this: What we saw on tape [against St. Louis] we really liked," Bradley said. "Now, in practice, seeing him in drill work and all the other offensive linemen, he’s special. He’s a special talent. He’s very athletic. He’s very smart. He’s mature for playing that position. Now he just needs game reps and that will be a learning process, but we just feel like he’s really got a really good upside to him."

That is why the Jaguars took him with the No. 2 overall pick in 2013. They envisioned him as the anchor to the offensive line at left tackle for years, but started him at right tackle because Eugene Monroe, the team's first-round pick in 2009, was at left tackle. General manager David Caldwell traded Monroe to Baltimore after Week 4 and Joeckel slid over to left tackle. It is his natural position and he was clearly more comfortable there, but that lasted less than a quarter because of his injury, which occurred when a player fell across his lower leg on a running play.

Tuesday was Joeckel's first time on the field with his teammates since then and he was somewhat limited, taking the first two reps during a drill before giving way to someone else for a rep or two. He said that is the plan for the foreseeable future. He’s not wearing a brace on the ankle, though he is wearing extra tape, and the medical staff doesn’t want to over-stress his ankle.

Joeckel still has a metal plate and two wire ties in his ankle. Those were needed because the injury was a little more severe than just a fracture. Joeckel said he also suffered cartilage damage and tore the deltoid ligament off the bone. A slow and steady approach for his return, especially in May, is the best approach, he said.

"My offseason was way too long," Joeckel said. "Looking back at it all, it was a terrible rookie year, but I’m excited about going into this year. A lot more excitement going into the year, and excited to be back and playing ball again."

And to be normal again.
NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock falls in line with most of the other draft analysts: He sees the Jaguars going quarterback or pass-rusher with the No. 3 overall pick in the upcoming NFL draft.

But, as Hays Carlyon of the Florida Times-Union writes, there's no slam dunk among the quarterbacks, so what the Jaguars do depends on how much GM David Caldwell grows to like one of the QBs over the next several months.

"Do they fall in love with one of those three quarterbacks, and is he available at three?" Mayock said. "That's the first question. The second need after quarterback becomes an edge rusher. At three, depending on the quarterback situation, if their guys isn't there [Jadeveon] Clowney or [Khalil] Mack makes a ton of sense to me."

Mayock also had several other things to say about the Jaguars during a conference call on Tuesday. He said offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is one of the league's better young quarterback coaches, likes right guard Austin Pasztor, and said the Jaguars also need to address the interior of the offensive line.

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars-related content from around the Web in our Reading the Coverage feature:

If the Jaguars do want to draft a quarterback, they apparently will only have to worry about what the Houston Texans do with the top pick in the draft. St. Louis coach Jeff Fischer said Tuesday that Sam Bradford will continue to be the Rams' starter, which all but assures that the Rams aren't going to take a quarterback with the No. 2 pick.

Tennessee Titans president and CEO Tommy Smith said the team is shaking things up this offseason because the status quo is unacceptable.

NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler lists the 10 prospects with the most to gain or lose at this week's NFL combine.

The NFL's competition committee is considering changes to the PAT, including making it longer.

Baltimore left tackle Eugene Monroe, who was acquired this past season in a trade with the Jaguars, is scheduled to be a free agent next month. He is the latest player to say there are no hometown discounts.

NFL Network's Elliott Harrison sees the Jaguars as potential suitors for free agents Jared Allen and Jason Hatcher.
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.

Joeckel
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
Each day for the next two weeks we'll review how each position group performed in 2013, and take an early look at 2014. Today we'll examine the offensive line. We did quarterbacks on Monday running backs on Tuesday, tight ends Wednesday, and wide receivers on Thursday. We will do the defense next week.

Offensive line

Breakdown of starts: C Brad Meester (16), G Uche Nwaneri (16), T Austin Pasztor (12), T Cameron Bradfield (11), G Will Rackley (11), T Luke Joeckel (5), T Eugene Monroe (4), G Mike Brewster (3), G Jacques McClendon (2).

Recap: The Jaguars finished 31st in rushing (78.8 yards per game) and gave up the second-most sacks in the league (50). All the blame for those poor stats doesn't fall on the offensive line, but a good bit does. Injuries played a large role because several players started the season banged up and three ended up finishing the season on IR.

Only two players who started the season opener were in the starting lineup for the season finale: Meester and Nwaneri.

The group really struggled in the first month adjusting to the new zone-blocking scheme and it wasn't until Monroe was traded that things started to get better. The timing was a bit unusual because Monroe is regarded as one of the better young tackles in the game and Joeckel lasted less than a half at left tackle because of a season-ending ankle injury.

Nwaneri and Rackley were banged up with knee issues early in the season but as they got healthier the middle of the line played better.

The biggest surprise, though, was the play of Pasztor. Bradfield had started 12 games at right tackle in 2012 so he was experienced enough to handle things at left tackle after Joeckel got injured. Pasztor had started just three games at left guard as a rookie in 2012 but he did a solid job at right tackle over the final 12 games of the season. He was promising enough that coach Gus Bradley and GM David Caldwell are willing to give him a further look at that spot to see if he can develop into the team's answer at right tackle.

Rackley missed the final four games because of a concussion. Brewster was supposed to be his replacement but he suffered a fractured ankle as well and that forced McClendon into the lineup.

Looking ahead to 2014

Players under contract: Nwaneri, Joeckel, Rackley, Brewster, McClendon, G Stephane Milhim, C Patrick Lewis, G Drew Nowak, T DeMarcus Love, C Matt Stankiewitch.

The skinny: The top priority is finding a center because Meester retired after 14 seasons. It may be someone already on the roster -- McClendon also can snap -- but it also may be someone the Jaguars sign in free agency (Cleveland's Alex Mack is regarded as the top center that could be a free agent).

Upgrading at left guard and making sure things are settled at right tackle are on the list as well. Pasztor may end up being the starter against but he has to show progress and prove he can handle the quicker rushers.

There are still questions about Joeckel. He looked good in his first game at left tackle (his natural position), but he was only on the field for less than a half before he got injured. He should be healthy in time for OTAs.

The Jaguars are likely going to add several free agents and draft picks in the interior. The run game has to improve and that starts with the center and guards.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- As expected, the Jacksonville Jaguars were announced as one of the two teams that will coach in the Reese’s Senior Bowl later this month.

Head coach Gus Bradley and the staff will coach the South team while Atlanta head coach Mike Smith and his staff will coach the North team. The game will be played Jan. 25 at Ladd Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.

This should be a huge benefit for the Jaguars (4-12), who have the No. 3 overall pick. Getting a firsthand look at some of the country’s top senior talent, as well as getting hands-on coaching experience with them, is valuable additional information that should give the Jaguars and Falcons a leg up over other teams.

"I think it’s awesome," Bradley said. "I think it’s a great opportunity. I did it one year and was part of it when we did it in Tampa and I think it’s great.

"It’s a great evaluation tool. It’s maybe better for us as coaches instead of sitting in our rooms watching tape over and over again. We can evaluate all aspects of the game. I don’t want to make a habit of it but as long as we have this opportunity we need to take advantage of it."

Coaching in the game should provide valuable insight into how each player handles himself in the locker room and meeting room and how well they handle being pushed at practice. The game plans will be stripped down and simplified, but it will still give the coaching staff a chance to see how quickly players can pick up and adjust to NFL concepts.

That’s especially important for the quarterbacks, which is the Jaguars’ most pressing need. Rosters won’t be released until mid-January but so far six quarterbacks have accepted invitations to play in the game: Clemson’s Tajh Boyd, Fresno State’s Derek Carr, San Jose State’s David Fales, Miami’s Stephen Morris, Virginia Tech’s Logan Thomas and Georgia’s Aaron Murray. Murray will not play because of a torn ACL.

The Jaguars’ No. 2 need is pass-rusher and so far eight defensive ends have accepted invites: Georgia Tech’s Jeremiah Attaochu, Auburn’s Dee Ford, Virginia Tech’s James Gayle, North Carolina’s Kareem Martin, Missouri’s Michael Sams, Arkansas’ Chris Smith, Louisville’s Marcus Smith, and Virginia’s Brent Urban.

This is Bradley’s second chance to coach the Senior Bowl -- he was part of a Tampa Bay staff that coached in the Senior Bowl in 2006 -- and he’s hoping the Jaguars do a better job of capitalizing on the opportunity than the Bucs did. Their No. 1 pick, Oklahoma guard Davin Joseph, developed into a Pro Bowler and second-round pick Jeremy Trueblood just finished his eighth season (he’s now with Atlanta).

Quarterback Bruce Gradkowski, whom the Bucs took in the sixth round, has been a backup for five teams. The other seven draft picks lasted three or fewer seasons.

This is the second time the Jaguars have coached in the game. Jack Del Rio and his staff coached in the game in 2009. Six of the nine players the team drafted that year are still active -- all with other teams. First-round pick Eugene Monroe was the lone remaining player from the Jaguars’ draft on the roster this season until he was traded to Baltimore a month into the season.

Offensive tackle Eben Britton (Chicago), defensive tackle Terrance Knighton (Denver), cornerback Derek Cox (San Diego), receiver Tiquan Underwood (Tampa Bay) and running back Rashad Jennings (Oakland) are also still active.

Receivers Jarett Dillard and Mike Thomas and tight end Zach Miller are out of the league.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars' lineup in the regular season finale on Sunday is going to look very little like it did in the season opener.

Depending on how some players respond to injuries this week, the Jaguars may only start nine players in Week 17’s game against Indianapolis that started against Kansas City in Week 1. All teams have to deal with injuries to key players throughout the season -- the Denver Broncos just lost linebacker Von Miller with a torn ACL -- but turning over more than half of the starting lineup in four months doesn’t happen on a regular basis.

The Jaguars (4-11) didn’t exactly have a deep roster to begin with, but they’ve somehow managed the through the personnel losses to win four games in the second half despite having to rely on some young, unproven players -- especially at linebacker and receiver.

"We really didn’t make that big of a deal about it, but what we did talk about was to really go in there and sometimes special stories take place with opportunities," coach Gus Bradley said. "We really taught our whole team the mindset you’ve got to have to go in there."

The results have been hit and miss, which is what you’d expect from those players. Good plays -- like receiver Kerry Taylor catching four passes for 45 yards against the Titans -- and bad, like Taylor dropping an easy reception that would have converted a first down against Buffalo.

"You’ve just got to do it all the time," Bradley said. "There’s going to be times when young guys get [out of position or make a mistake] but we just need to limit that. That’s what we’re seeing right now and that’s what happens sometimes with younger players especially if they’re getting their first opportunity."

Here’s a breakdown of the missing starters:

WR Justin Blackmon: Suspended for the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, played four games, and then was suspended indefinitely for violating it again.

WR Cecil Shorts*: Placed on IR on Dec. 17 with a groin injury.

LT Eugene Monroe*: Traded to Baltimore on Oct. 2.

LT Luke Joeckel* (started Week 1 at RT): Suffered a fractured ankle against St. Louis on Oct. 6.

G Will Rackley*: Placed on IR on Dec. 17 with a concussion.

LB Russell Allen*: Placed on IR on Dec. 18.

G Mike Brewster: He replaced Rackley in the lineup and suffered a fractured ankle against Buffalo on Dec. 15.

DT Brandon Deaderick: He was on the field for starting DT Roy Miller, who did not play against Tennessee on Sunday, and suffered a dislocated elbow.

Here’s a breakdown of other starters who may miss Sunday’s finale:

LB Geno Hayes*: He did not play last Sunday because of a knee injury. He likely won’t practice this week.

DT Roy Miller*: He has battled a shoulder injury all season and did not play last Sunday. He likely won’t practice this week.

CB Dwayne Gratz*: He suffered a high ankle sprain last Sunday and likely won’t practice this week.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew*: He fought through a hamstring injury and started against Tennessee last Sunday but will be limited this week.

LT Cameron Bradfield: He joined the starting lineup after Joeckel was injured and suffered a high ankle sprain last Sunday and will be limited in practice this week.

*Denotes started season opener.

Jacksonville Jaguars mailbag

December, 19, 2013
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. --Austin Pasztor was an afterthought in training camp.

Now he might be the Jaguars' right tackle of the future.

Pasztor, forced into action when left tackle Eugene Monroe was traded to Baltimore before the St. Louis game in Week 5, has steadily progressed over the past nine games and the Jaguars may not have to address that position in the draft or free agency, writes the Florida Times-Union's Hays Carlyon.

"I love the way Austin is progressing," offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said.

Here are some additional pieces of Jaguars content from around the Web in our daily Reading the Coverage feature:

The T-U's Ryan O'Halloran reviews five key plays from the Jaguars' 27-20 loss to Buffalo.

The Denver Broncos signed former Jaguars defensive end Jeremy Mincey, writes ESPN Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold.

Here are some items from this blog: the weekly list of the top 10 playmakers from the previous game; despite losing, the Jaguars remained No. 29 in the ESPN.com Power Rankings; playing time broken down for offense and defense.

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It has been an ugly first half of the season for the Jacksonville Jaguars.

They’ve lost every game by double digits -- the average margin is 22 points -- and are riding a 13-game losing streak that dates back to a Nov. 25, 2012, when they beat Tennessee. They rank last in the NFL in total offense and rush defense, 31st in rush offense, and 27th in total defense.

They haven’t scored a touchdown at EverBank Field since the first quarter of the 2012 regular-season home finale.

Ugly, indeed.

There have been slivers of good work in parts of the team in the first eight games, but the overall body of work deserves an F.

In breaking that grade down, it's clear this midseason report card isn’t going to be pretty. In fact, it’s the kind of report card that gets you grounded for weeks:

Jaguars' first-half stock watch

October, 30, 2013
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- With the Jaguars on their bye week, it's the perfect time to evaluate the first half of the season stock-market style:

RISING

Offensive line: The unit really struggled in the beginning of the season adjusting to the zone blocking scheme, which calls for the linemen to create movement along the defensive line rather than opening a specific hole and for back-side linemen to cut block. Center Brad Meester and guards Uche Nwaneri and Will Rackley were not playing well at all, though Nwaneri and Rackley were dealing with leg injuries. Things looked bleak when the team traded left tackle Eugene Monroe to Baltimore after four games and rookie tackle Luke Joeckel fractured his leg the following game, but surprisingly the line has jelled and is playing significantly better. Young tackles Cameron Bradfield and Austin Pasztor are growing into their roles and the line has been better in the run game. Pass protection has improved, too. After giving up 18 sacks in the first four games the line gave up 10 in the next four.

QB Chad Henne: Since taking over as the starter for Blaine Gabbert (hamstring) before the Denver game, the Jaguars have averaged 283 yards passing. Though Henne has led the offense to just two touchdowns, he has thrown only three interceptions in those games -- two of which came after passes were tipped at the line of scrimmage. He's having trouble in the red zone and has made questionable decisions, but he still gives the Jaguars the best chance to win. That is why head coach Gus Bradley has named him the starter "right now" even though Gabbert is healthy.

WR Mike Brown: Brown missed four games after fracturing a vertebra in his back in the season opener. He has caught 12 passes for 212 yards in the three games since his return, including five catches for 120 yards against San Diego. His development gives the Jaguars a reliable third receiver.

RB Maurice Jones-Drew: He had a slow start to the season, but he had legitimate reasons: He was coming off a Lisfranc injury, the offensive line really struggled and he sprained his ankle in Week 2. But he's starting to get rolling now. He had a season-high 25 touches (19 rushes for 75 yards, six catches for 47 yards) against San Francisco and he's showing some of the old burst and tackle-breaking ability that helped him lead the NFL in rushing in 2011.

FALLING

Third-down defense: The Jaguars just can't get off the field on third down. Opponents have converted 44.8 percent of third-down attempts, which is the fourth-worst total in the NFL behind Minnesota (51 percent), Cleveland (46.4) and the New York Giants (45). That's extending drives and taxing the defense, especially when the offense can't stay on the field (the Jaguars have 35 three-and-outs). The biggest problem is there isn't anyone making plays other than linebacker Paul Posluszny (two interceptions, including one for a touchdown).

Red-zone production: The Jaguars have scored only five touchdowns on 20 red zone trips this season. That's a TD conversion rate of just 25 percent, which is by far the worst in the league. The next closest team is Philadelphia (39.1 percent). The Jaguars haven't scored a touchdown in their last seven trips to the red zone. Poor play calls, bad passes, dropped passes, poor decisions ... it has all factored into their ineptitude.

Turnovers: The Jaguars defense has forced just seven turnovers (one of the eight fumble recoveries came on special teams). That's another indication of a lack of playmakers, especially in the secondary. Posluszny has two of the three interceptions; cornerback Will Blackmon has the other. Bradley said players have been in position to make big plays but haven't capitalized.

Pass rush: This year's pass rush isn't any better than it was in 2012, when the Jaguars finished last in the NFL with just 20 sacks. They've got 11 at the midway point, with defensive end Jason Babin and Sen'Derrick Marks leading the way with two. Those two are pretty much the only ones getting to the quarterback because they're first and second, respectively, in quarterback pressures with nine and six. The second half of the season will essentially be a tryout for defensive end Andre Branch, who was drafted in the second round in 2012 to develop into an elite pass rusher but he has just two sacks in 21 games.

ST. LOUIS -- A few thoughts on the Jacksonville Jaguars' 34-20 loss to the St. Louis Rams:

What it means: The Jaguars lost their fifth game of the season but there was progress. The team scored a season-high 20 points, it was a seven-point game at one point in the fourth quarter and the running game finally got moving (96 yards, including 70 by Maurice Jones-Drew). But the kinds of mistakes the Jaguars have made all season resurfaced and resulted in the franchise’s 10th consecutive loss dating back to last season. Blaine Gabbert air-mailed a pass over Justin Blackmon's head that was intercepted and returned 82 yards for a touchdown. LaRoy Reynolds was penalized for an illegal block above the waist that nullified Ace Sanders' 88-yard punt return for a touchdown. The Jaguars did score on that possession, but it is an example of how penalties have hurt this team all season. Clay Harbor also fumbled and the Rams turned that into a touchdown, too. Still, the offense ended up with a season-high 363 yards.

Gabbert hurt again: Gabbert was forced to leave the game in the second half after injuring his left hamstring. He had completed nine of 19 passes for 181 yards and one touchdown but threw two interceptions. It was a typical Gabbert performance: He threw several passes that flashed his potential but he also had plays where he panicked in the pocket and took off running and overthrew open receivers. He was replaced by Chad Henne, who led the Jaguars to one touchdown.

Stock watch: The Jaguars’ offensive line is essentially down two starters from the unit that opened the season. The team traded starting left tackle Eugene Monroe to Baltimore early in the week and Luke Joeckel, the No. 2 overall draft pick last April, moved from right tackle to left tackle but injured his ankle in the first quarter and did not return. Cameron Bradfield, who started 12 games at right tackle last season, stepped in for Joeckel.

Now you see him, now you don’t: Blackmon returned from a four-game suspension and made an immediate impact on the offense, catching five passes for 136 yards and a touchdown. The touchdown came on a pass over the middle and he out-ran the secondary for 67 yards. But Blackmon had only two more catches.

What’s next: The Jaguars play at Denver on Sunday.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Maurice Jones-Drew and Paul Posluszny both said Friday they appreciated general manager Dave Caldwell taking the time to speak with them and reassure them they were not going to be traded.

Caldwell traded left tackle Eugene Monroe to Baltimore on Tuesday night, and there was speculation that other veterans would be moved as part of a fire sale to stockpile draft picks to rebuild the franchise. But Caldwell met with them Thursday and told them they weren't going anywhere.

Caldwell revealed the meeting after open locker room Thursday.

"It meant a lot to know your GM and your head coach think that much of you to sit you down," said Jones-Drew, who is in the final year of his contract and is being paid $4.95 million. "Obviously you hear a bunch of talk all the time so it was good to sit down and kind of clear the airways and just get back to football and playing the game that we want to play well and that I love."

Posluszny is in the third year of a six-year, $45 million contract and is scheduled to make $8.5 million next season and $9.5 million in 2015. He is second in the NFL with 40 tackles.

"It was reassuring to hear from the head man that he wants me to be a part of the organization and not to worry about anything that I hear or read concerning trades," Posluszny said. "Did it cross my mind? Yeah. Was I overly concerned? It's one of those things, we can speculate all day about it but you can't really worry about it too much."

Caldwell said the Monroe trade, which netted the Jaguars fourth- and fifth-round picks in the 2014 draft, grew out of casual conversations with Ravens officials. One of the reasons he was willing to make the trade was that the Jaguars had a player who could slide into Monroe's spot. Luke Joeckel, whom the team had taken with the No. 2 overall pick last April, had been working at right tackle all season but was considered the team's left tackle of the future.

The future begins Sunday against the Rams in St. Louis.

"It's hard to make a trade in-season," Caldwell said. "Things really have to align the right way. You have to have a buyer, you have to have a seller, a team has to have salary cap space, a team has to be willing to part with their player, and it's not like it's easy to just fill in. So when you have a guy like Luke Joeckel that we can fill in at left tackle, that helps us a lot.

"So we look at it as we got a first round pick as a left tackle and a four and a five this year coming up with the trade."
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars general manger Dave Caldwell wouldn't have traded left tackle Eugene Monroe to the Baltimore Ravens if he wasn't convinced Luke Joeckel was ready to step in.

Now Joeckel has to hold up his end of the bargain and begin becoming the elite player the Jaguars envisioned when they took him with the No. 2 overall pick in last April's NFL draft, writes Hays Carlyon of the Florida Times-Union.

Other than the first four games of this season, Joeckel has always played left tackle. He said he doesn't anticipate a long transition as he settles back into the spot because he's much more comfortable there than at right tackle.

Here's my story on Joeckel's transition.

Here are some other pieces of Jaguars content from around the Web in our daily Reading the Coverage feature:

The T-U's Vito Stellino writes that the Jaguars are hoping the return of receiver Justin Blackmon will jump-start the offense. Blackmon was suspended for the first four games because he violated the NFL's substance abuse policy.

The T-U's Ryan O'Halloran gives three storylines to watch in his weekly Three And Out feature. One of the more interesting things he discusses is how Blackmon's return could help rookie receiver Ace Sanders.

The Jaguars announced that they've reached an agreement with Jacksonville city officials to pay $20 million of the $63 million needed for stadium improvements, which include two giant video scoreboards and an interactive area with a pool. The city will pay the remaining $43 million from a hotel bed tax.

ESPN.com Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley writes that Baltimore is glad to have Monroe.

Here's a roundup of items from this blog: veteran players say they're not worried about being the next one traded; a quick video highlighting the Jaguars' top storylines this week (other than the Monroe trade); the weekly QB Watch.

 
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Eugene Monroe made a quick appearance in the Jaguars' locker room on Wednesday to shake hands and say goodbye to teammates before he left to join the Baltimore Ravens.

It may not be the last time a veteran player does that this month.

Several other players could possibly find themselves headed elsewhere before the Oct. 29 trade deadline if general manager Dave Caldwell decides to stockpile more draft picks for 2014 and beyond.

"Can't think about it like that," guard Uche Nwaneri said. "You just can't look at it from that perspective or you're going to be walking around like a ghost in here. You just have to move forward."

Coach Gus Bradley tried to help players do that by addressing the Monroe trade in a team meeting. He told them the deal didn’t signify that the team has thrown in the towel on 2013 -- they’re 0-4 heading into Sunday’s game at St. Louis -- and there currently are no other deals in the works, but he couldn’t guarantee the Jaguars won’t unload another veteran as part of a salary purge.

"I addressed that, but I guess if they think that how can you blame them?" Bradley said. "Right now there are no moves. I talked to Dave and he said right now we have nothing pending and nothing going on. I wish I could alleviate that for some of the players but as you know the NFL is a business.

"This [Monroe trade] just popped up so I understand that and what I asked of them is to just come back and concentrate and let’s go to work."

Tight end Marcedes Lewis said he didn’t get the sense that the young players were upset or worried even before the meeting. Most of them understand that there’s a business side to the game.

"[Bradley] put everything in perspective for us,” Lewis said. “But even coming into the building, there wasn't a whole bunch of grumps. That's how the NFL is. In my eight years, I've seen some stuff that shocked me. You take it and you roll on. We wish Eugene the best of luck and move on."

It’s not like trading Monroe was a shock. He hadn’t played particularly well and wasn’t a good fit in the team’s new zone-blocking scheme. Plus, he was in the final year of his contract.

Even if it was a huge surprise, Maurice Jones-Drew would have taken it in stride just as he did on Wednesday.

“We all understand it,” he said. “I’ve been here when we’ve cut our quarterback Week 1 twice. I don’t think there’s too much more that can shock you about this deal.”

RTC: Eugene Monroe trade reaction

October, 2, 2013
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars got a little more help for their rebuilding project.

GM Dave Caldwell traded left tackle Eugene Monroe to the Baltimore Ravens on Tuesday night for three third-day draft picks, making the first of what is surely to be several personnel moves involving one of the team's most high-profile players. According to Ryan O'Halloran of the Florida Times-Union, the Jaguars will now have 11 picks in the 2014 draft.

The trade means rookie first-round pick Luke Joeckel will move from right tackle to left tackle, the position he played at Texas A&M. Only nine of former general manager Gene Smith's 24 draft picks remain with the team.

Monroe, who is in the final year of his contract, told O'Halloran and the Associated Press that he was looking forward to a fresh start and that he had no ill feelings toward the Jaguars or Caldwell.

While the trade is certainly beneficial for the Jaguars, it's also a good deal for the Ravens, writes ESPN Ravens reporter Jamison Hensley. Their offensive line has struggled and Monroe is a significant upgrade from Bryant McKinnie.

The T-U's Hays Carlyon weighs in on the trade and WJXT TV-4 sports director Sam Kouvaris and Cole Pepper discuss which player could potentially be next.

Here are some other pieces of Jaguars content from around the web in our daily Reading the Coverage feature:

The Jaguars will induct former quarterback Mark Brunell into the Pride of the Jaguars. He joins former offensive tackle Tony Boselli, former running back Fred Taylor and former owners Wayne and Delores Weaver in the team's hall of fame.

O'Halloran provides a statistical recap of the first month of the season in his weekly Inside the Game feature.

Here's a roundup of items from this blog: a scouting report on the St. Louis Rams; the Jaguars are No. 32 (again) in the ESPN.com NFL Power Rankings; the weekly ranking of the Jaguars' top 10 playmakers, which this time includes a special guest.

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