After enjoying a rare clean bill of health early in the 2022 season, injuries have started to pile up for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The team announced Tuesday they’ve placed left guard Ben Bartch and outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson on Injured Reserve.
Head coach Doug Pederson met with the local media Wednesday and discussed the moves the Jags made. Pederson says he wishes Bartch a speedy recovery but there’s no doubt in his mind that “when he comes back next year, he’ll be ready to go“. He then went on to praise Tyler Shatley, who will be taking Bartch’s spot in the starting lineup.
“Anytime you have veteran backups, swing guys that go multiple spots is beneficial”, Pederson said. “Shatley is one of those guys, whether it’s guard, center, it’s just valuable to have. You got him, you got Walker [Little] sitting there, Cole Van Lanen can obviously play guard and tackle, so we got options”.
A fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft, Bartch had started every game this season. He dislocated his knee and suffered ligament damage in the Week 5 loss to the Houston Texans. As Pederson alluded, Van Lanen will move up the depth chart and will most likely become the primary backup inside. Similarly, Little, the top backup at offensive tackle, could get playing time in the interior. Not long after it was reported Bartch would go to IR, the Jags signed John Miller. The head coach also discussed his addition to the team and his potential role.
“When you lose a player like Ben, obviously you get that spot right, so we did our due diligence the last couple of days and brought a few guys in to work our and really feel comfortable with him. And now we just got to get them caught up to speed and he’ll be in the rotation for potentially that seventh/eighth spot”, Pederson said.
A third-round pick in the 2015 draft by the Buffalo Bills, Miller has 84 career starts and has also spent time with the Cincinnati Bengals and the Carolina Panthers. He hurt his ankle last year and was placed on IR. He hasn’t suited up for a game this season.
The Jaguars are in good shape in spite of the recent string of injuries
Pederson also told the media Wednesday that K’Lavon Chaisson’s injury isn’t as serious and should be able to return this year, “K’Lavon is just gonna miss some time, so he should make a full recovery and be back”.
Injuries are one part of football that everybody would like to do without but that’s simply not possible. Having said that, there are some that are harder to overcome than others and the Jaguars should not miss a bit in spite of missing Bartch for the year.
Bartch was an important piece in their offensive line puzzle but the drop from him to Shatley won’t be that steep. After all, Shatley has been proven to be reliable in the past. Otherwise, the Jaguars’ brass wouldn’t have brought him back earlier this year.
While the Jags might be able to overcome Chaisson’s and Bartch’s injuries, they must remain as healthy as possible moving forward if they want to bounce back and compete for the division crown and a playoff spot this season.