Jaguars OG Ben Bartch set to start training camp in PUP: Team making right decision

Offensive guard Ben Bartch is slated to start training camp in the PUP list. Here's what it means to the Jacksonville Jaguars
Sep 19, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Ben Bartch (78).
Sep 19, 2021; Jacksonville, Florida, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars offensive tackle Ben Bartch (78). / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Offensive guard Ben Bartch sustained a knee injury last year that forced him to sit out a good chunk of the 2022 season. He's still recovering, which has prompted the Jacksonville Jaguars to place him on the Physically Unable to Perform list ahead of training camp.

The Jags announced on their PR account on Twitter that they put Bartch on the PUP list Saturday. Earlier this year, head coach Doug Pederson said there was a chance Bartch wasn't going to be ready to start camp. By placing him on the PUP list, they can let him recover while they assess how other players fare at the position.

A fourth-round pick in the 2020 draft, he's lined up at both guard sports over the last three seasons. Bartch was the team's starting left guard last year but dislocated his knee in Week 5 and was placed on the Injured Reserve list.

If Bartch isn't a full-go for the regular season, Jacksonville can plug in veteran Tyler Shatley at left guard. Having started 30 games at all three positions on the interior offensive line the last three years, Shatley can come into the lineup at any time without needing to practice.

The Jaguars are taking the right approach with Ben Bartch in training camp

Ben Bartch is probably the Jags' best option at left guard but it doesn't make sense to rush him and expose him to further injury if he isn't 100 percent ready. During his absence, the coaching staff will probably give an extensive look at third-year offensive lineman Cole Van Lanen and rookie Cooper Hodges.

Van Lanen, a sixth-round pick by the Green Bay Packers in 2021, was acquired by the Jaguars before the start of the 2022 season but hardly ever saw the field. He could be splitting reps with Hodges, whom offensive line coach Phil Rauscher describes as country strong.

And if Bartch misses more time than expected, the Jaguars could host offensive guard Dalton Risner, who remains available and could come in and start if called upon. Risner, a second-round pick by the Denver Broncos in 2019, has made 62 starts over the last four years. Although he's far from a Pro Bowl talent, he would be a solid contingency plan. Last season, he posted a Pro Football Focus overall grade of 61.1 and allowed 29 total pressures and three sacks in 15 starts.

The Jaguars will probably give an update on Ben Bartch's health and whether he will be ready for the regular season once training camp starts. For the time being, they're keeping him out of practice to make sure he doesn't have any setbacks in his recovery.

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