But if Thursday was any indication, and if the rookie first-round right tackle is correct about his hip, the No. 2 overall selection in the 2013 NFL Draft could play Saturday.
“I feel good – I feel ready to go,” said Joeckel, who missed last week’s preseason loss to the New York Jets with a hip flexor.
Joeckel spoke an hour after the Jaguars’ Thursday walkthrough practice, which was originally scheduled for the Florida Blue Health and Wellness Practice Fields before being moved to the SeaBest Cool Zone underneath EverBank Field because of lightning.
The Jaguars originally planned for Joeckel take on-field repetitions Thursday, a plan that changed when practice was moved. The Jaguars walked through plays for the Week 3 preseason game against the Eagles game Saturday, but took no live work.
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley said Joeckel is a game-time decision for Saturday.
“Ideally, today would have been to go out there and have him get some practice reps on the field but we were unable to do that, so we best utilized him to lock it in mentally and we’ll see how it goes,” Bradley said. “He’s not going to be playing as much as the first group but we would like to see him play.”
“It’s something I’ve never had to deal with before,” Joeckel said. “Having these muscle strains, you feel like you shouldn’t be out because it’s not like a bone sticking out.”
Joeckel said he grew up playing with exactly that mantra.
“My dad told me, ‘I never want to see you laying on the field and I never want to see you have a tear unless a bone’s sticking out, or blood’s gushing out of your body,’’’ Joeckel said. “So, it’s hard to sit out with an invisible muscle strain.”
Joeckel said because he is a rookie with limited NFL experience, playing Saturday is important. Bradley said he likely won’t play as much as the rest of the starters, but that because of that, he could play longer than the other starters in the preseason finale Thursday at Atlanta.
“As many reps as I can get is going to be great for me,” Joeckel said. “This is a little bit of a setback, but I don’t think it will affect me too much as long as I take great reps in practice these next two weeks in practice. I think I’ll be mentally and physically ready by Week 1.
“It’s real tough. This is an important time for me as a rookie, and getting the experience is important. This is a small step back, but I’ve definitely got to step up and be on the grind these next few weeks.”
Also on Thursday:
*Bradley said running back
*Bradley said tight end
*Bradley said he expects the team’s starting unit to play into the third quarter Saturday. “After that, we will see how many plays they get,” he said.
*Bradley said the team has not yet decided whether to have rookie