The Jacksonville Jaguars (1-5) will be without three starters when they travel to Los Angeles to take on the Chargers (1-4) in Week 7 -- with the potential of a fourth starter being unavailable as well.
The Jaguars announced on Friday that linebacker Myles Jack (ankle), tight end Tyler Eifert (neck) and free safety Jarrod Wilson (hamstring) will all be out vs. the Chargers. Meanwhile, right guard A.J. Cann was ruled questionable with a shoulder injury.
Considering the Jaguars are having to travel to the west coast during the middle of a five-game losing streak, entering the game without 3-4 starters is obviously a bad omen.
Jack is the most significant absence. One of the NFL's best linebackers this season, Jack is third on the team in tackles (41), while also recording a sack, an interception and two tackles for loss. Jack missed Week 5 with an ankle injury and left Week 6 with the injury. In his place will be either Dakota Allen or Quincy Williams, each of whom played when Jack left last week's game.
“I feel good about it. I think Dakota [Allen] has done a nice job for us when he’s gone in there for Myles [Jack] before, and I think that Quincy [Williams] did a nice job when he went in there for Dakota when he had to come out with his shoe being undone. So, I think both players are more than capable to step in for us," head coach Doug Marrone said earlier in the week.
Eifert hasn't made the impact on Jacksonville's offense that many hoped he would (11 catches for 93 yards and one touchdown on 23 targets), but the Jaguars lack depth behind him. James O'Shaughnessy will get the start at tight end while rookies Tyler Davis and Ben Ellefson fill in behind him.
At free safety, the Jaguars will be down to their third-string player in Brandon Watson, while Douglas Middleton will also help fill in. Wilson, who also missed three games earlier in the season with a hamstring injury, has 13 tackles and an interception in three games. Wilson's primary backup, second-year safety Andrew Wingard, is on injured reserve with an abdominal injury.
Watson, a cornerback convert who is in his second season, has recorded nine tackles in 62 defensive snaps this season.
With Cann questionable to start at right guard, the Jaguars will likely instead look at using a rotation instead of giving the job outright to rookie fourth-round guard Ben Bartch. Bartch played 55 snaps in Week 6 when Cann was injured, but the raw rookie has seemingly yet to earn the full trust of the coaching staff as a starting lineman.
"We’re looking at a substitution plan right now; which obviously can change during the course of a game. If someone’s really playing well or playing hot, we think we can get good production out of it. And again, it’s not a knock on Ben [Bartch]," Marrone said.
"I thought he did some good things last week, there’s times that he did really well and there’s times that he got beat; which is going to happen with young players. But I feel that he’s going to come along well. And to have a guy like Tyler Shatley, that’s really been a staple, has really stepped in for Brandon Linder at center and played really well. And you know, he’s played guard at times. So, we’re just going to look at the matchups in there and see who we feel good against. But right now, our plan is if A.J. can’t go, then we would get in some type of substitution.”