The Jacksonville Jaguars will be a little thin along the defensive front to start the season.
The Jaguars placed veteran Ziggy Hood on injured reserve with a foot injury while making roster cuts Saturday, and won’t have fellow defensive linemen Andre Branch and Sen’Derrick Marks available for next week’s season opener against Carolina.
Jacksonville activated Marks from the physically unable to perform list, a positive step in his recovery from a knee injury. But general manager Dave Caldwell said there’s no clear-cut timeframe for Marks’ return.
“I don’t think he’ll be ready for Week 1,” Caldwell said on a conference call. “We think he’s going to be ready before Week 6. So once he starts to practice, I think we’ll have a better idea there on that.”
Marks hasn’t practiced since having reconstructive knee surgery in January.
Hood injured his foot in the preseason finale and was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis, which includes a monthlong recovery. The Jaguars couldn’t afford to keep a roster spot available for another defensive lineman.
Branch sprained the medial collateral ligament in his left knee Aug. 28 and will miss “significant time.”
“It should be before Week 6, but a lot of it depends how he responds … and the stability of it,” Caldwell said. “I think he will be a situation that we’ll evaluate on a week-to-week basis. Once we start getting him out there on the field, we should know a little bit better time frame closer to it. But I’m hoping it’s going to be somewhere around Week 4, maybe, but you never know.”
With Hood, Marks and Branch sidelined, the Jaguars will turn to veteran Tyson Alualu and rookie Michael Bennett to play alongside Roy Miller inside.
The Jaguars already are without first-round draft pick Dante Fowler Jr., the third overall pick who suffered a season-ending knee injury in his first practice.
Jacksonville finalized its 53-man roster by waiving linebacker Jeremiah George, safety Craig Loston and offensive lineman Austin Pasztor. Rookie Thurston Armbrister edged George. Josh Evans beat out Loston, and Sam Young got the nod over Pasztor.
Armbrister was one of four undrafted rookies to make the team, joining cornerback Nick Marshall, running back Corey Grant and kicker Jason Myers. Marshall and Grant were teammates at Auburn last season.
Marshall, who switched from quarterback to cornerback at the Senior Bowl in January, made the roster because of special teams.
“He has the backup return ability, he has the ability to run down and cover on kickoffs,” Caldwell said. “In terms of him playing corner, when you get down to your fifth corner on game day, it’s probably not good for anybody in the league.
“We just said, ‘This guy has length. He has speed. He has athleticism.’ He was handing the ball off about a year ago and throwing passes, so we feel like there’s a lot of upside there for him.”
Republished with permission of The Associated Press.