JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The final preseason game is usually a pretty easy one for starters.
One series. Maybe two. But it’s rare for the starters -- or any key veteran who isn’t on the bubble -- to play more than a quarter.
That’s not going to be the case for the Jaguars, however. Coach Gus Bradley said Monday that several players who normally wouldn’t play much -- or at all -- in a final preseason game could see the field or get a larger dose of playing time on Thursday night against the Atlanta Falcons.
"We’re talking about getting an opportunity for some guys who have maybe missed due to injuries or setbacks," Bradley said. "… Some reps out there just to get their timing and get their legs back underneath them. But not a lot of playing time for them, but enough to make sure that they’re comfortable heading into next week."
Whether it’s because of injuries, competition at the position or to get playing time to help in their development, here’s a quick list of players who may see more action than anticipated on Thursday:
RT Luke Joeckel: The Jaguars’ first-round pick played against Philadelphia last Saturday after missing the previous game with a hip flexor. Joeckel suffered the injury Aug. 9 and has not gone through a full-pads practice since the injury. He’s the entrenched starter but will benefit from a little more work to knock off what Bradley said was some rustiness.
WR Cecil Shorts: A strained left calf kept Shorts out of the first two preseason games, but he did play against the Eagles, catching one pass for 20 yards. He said in the locker room that he was going to talk to Bradley and ask to get significant reps since he missed two weeks of practice after suffering his injury on Aug. 5.
SS John Cyprien: He was bothered by a hamstring injury at the beginning of training camp and missed the first preseason game. The second-round pick struggled in his debut but continues to progress in his development and could use some more playing time, Bradley said.
DT Brandon Deaderick: He sat out the first two preseason games with a groin injury. He played against the Eagles but did not record a tackle. He’s a proven veteran in the top four of the defensive tackle rotation but may see more action just to make sure he is ready for the season.