JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It appears the Jaguars have found the team's replacement for Luke Joeckel at left guard.
Veteran lineman Patrick Omameh looks to be the "next man up" for Jacksonville, as the team gets ready to face the Chicago Bears.
Omameh had served as the team's swing tackle through the first four games, but was the first man up when Joeckel went down during the Jaguars' Week 4 win over the Indianapolis Colts. Omameh held his ground in London and protected quarterback Blake Bortles down the stretch.
Omameh's solid work in relief of Joeckel likely earned him the first crack at the left guard job.
“I think obviously [it's] super unfortunate what happened to Luke and he will be missed," Bortles said on Wednesday.
"I think it gives Pat a chance to step up and go play. I thought he did some good things when he came in last week in London, did some really good stuff. So I have all the confidence in the world in him and then obviously he got an extra week to watch film and prepare and get ready because he’s kind of been bouncing around position-wise. For him to go in there and play guard and get used to it and seeing things, it’s been good.”
Omameh started 25 games over the previous two seasons in Tampa Bay and Chicago. Last year, he played in 14 games (nine starts) for the Bears, so Sunday's game will present an opportunity to show his former team what it's missing.
"I get excited about every opportunity, every game, every week," Omameh said. "It's something I've done before but it's an opportunity to go out there and do it again."
Omameh's versatility has offered him several opportunities since joining the Jaguars this summer. His teammates have noted his ability to play multiple spots and the coaching staff has been able to take advantage of that trait.
"To be able to be a player like that, that can kind of bounce around and play all over the line I think it’s something that’s very valuable in this league," Bortles said. "It’s definitely something we cherish on our team with him being able to do different things."
Omameh believes the entire line offers versatility. The unit's mentality has always been in the mode of "step in and step up" and Omameh has proven over the last few weeks that he has bought into that mindset.
"Versatility is one of our strengths," Omameh said. "We know regardless of the situation we find ourselves in, we have somebody that can go in there and get the job done."
Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.