The Jacksonville Jaguars had placed left guard Ben Bartch on the Physically Unable to Perform list while he kept recovering from a knee injury he suffered last year. He's now passed his physical and has returned to the active roster. That's great news that signals he's closer to getting back on the football field.
The Jags announced they've activated Bartch from the PUP list. Also, they've signed long-snapper Carson Tinker in lieu of Ross Matiscik's injury in the 28-23 preseason win over the Cowboys in Week 1.
Bartch, a fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft, dislocated his knee in Week 5 of the 2022 season. He was then shut down for the year and spent the entire offseason recovering. Early in training camp, head coach Doug Pederson said Bartch's timeline would be similar to running back James Robinson's last year.
Robinson started to get more work as the season come closer and he was back on the field for the opener. It's uncertain whether Bartch will be ready for the opener but returning to the active roster is huge for the former St. John Johnny, who's entering the last year of his rookie deal and would most certainly benefit from having a banner season.
On the other hand, signing Carson Tinker gives the Jaguars insurance while Matiscik recovers from a shoulder injury that forced him to leave the game against the Cowboys. During his absence, tight end Josh Pederson handled long-snapped duties and botched an attempt. If Matiscik has to miss Week 2 or even 3 of the preseason, Tinker can take his place.
Also, to make room for Tinker, the Jags have placed defensive lineman Henry Mondeaux on Injured Reserve. The team didn't have to make an additional move to accommodate Bartch because he counted toward the 90-roster even though he was on the PUP list.
Having Ben Bartch back in the fold if big news for the Jaguars
Next to the pass rush, left guard was probably the Jags' biggest question mark ahead of the 2023 season. During Bartch's absence, veteran Tyler Shatley, who's made 30 starts at all three positions on the interior offensive line over the last three years, took his place in the lineup.
However, Shatley dealt with AFib in training camp and missed the Cowboys game. Doug Pederson says he's fine and while he was away, Blake Hance, who's in his second stint with the Jags, got the starting nod.
To bolster the depth on the offensive line, Jacksonville signed Bobby Evans, a former third-round pick by the Los Angeles Rams, who can line up on the edges or inside. From an outside perspective, it's uncertain where he'll play with the Jaguars but his presence gives the team another option in case injuries strike.
Having Ben Bartch for the opener would ensure Trevor Lawrence has the best possible protection. That said, the Jags are better off holding him back until he's ready. Being on the active roster is a sign he's getting there.