Better Thoughts on the Offensive Line

Sometimes I am wrong. It probably happens a lot and only sometimes I am aware of it. My friend used to say “I thought I was wrong once, but I was wrong”. This time I know I am wrong.

The offensive line has been a mystery to me and I am struggling to make sense of it. For example, why was Vince Manuwai put on the left side last year and Uche Nwaneri on the right? Uche is a decent pass blocker but not a run blocker. The right side is the running side. Vince Manuwai is a run blocker, the left side is your pass blocking side. Why is he over there? I don’t know.

We know the offensive line has to improve. It was the worst QB protecting line in football last year. I was wrong when I questioned Jack Del Rio calling out Vince Manuwai. Jack should call him out if he showed up out of shape or not ready to raise his game. But why stop there? All of them need called out. All of them need to step up or move aside. What I don’t understand is why Jack picks one out for public consumption and gives a pass to others.

I was wrong that Justin Smiley might only be bench strength. He did reduce his salary from $5 million all the way down to $3 million.  His current salary, the new lower one, still puts him in the top 10 on the team. Top ten salary guys take the field and don’t come out until the job is finished. To borrow a bit of Joe Cullen, “You were brought here to block Justin, now get on with it”.  As far as I know, Justin Smiley didn’t have any work done on his shoulder in the off-season. Unless there is something I don’t know, he should be penciled in as an intended starter.

That brings me to another point, are they going to leave Uche Nwaneri on the right side? If Justin Smiley is a pass blocking guy, and he is, he belongs on the left side with Eugene Monroe. If Brad Meester earns his center spot back, that leaves Uche Nwaneri, Vince Manuwai and Kynan Forney looking to fill the right spot. Uche Nwaneri has never been a good run blocker. Vince Manuwai is and Kynan Forney is. So why doesn’t that leave Uche Nwaneri the guy who has the biggest issue with job security?

What is going on with the offensive line? Are we going to suffer through another year of “experimentation”? Are we going to flip the positions and the lineup every week? I think you put the right guy in the right spot early on and let these guys form into one unit.

Jack, you can call people out all you want, but quit tinkering around and lock in on something. I think Wayne Weaver asked for that as well.

The comments on the last article were, for the most part, excellent and showed what a discussion should be all about. Help me out here and let’s figure this offensive line thing out together. Speak up please.

- Terry O’Brien

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Tags: Brad Meester Eugene Monroe Jack Del Rio Jaguar Offensive Line Kynan Forney Uche Nwaneri Vince Manuwai

  • Bibbee

    I’ve got some theories…

    I think Gene created the competition (obviously, but hear me out) and that if Smiley isn’t starting, he probably won’t be on the team for the financial reasons you listed. I want to think he picked weaknesses to improve and he is planning on Smiley on being the LG on opening day. BUT I also know this is Jack’s last year. I think Gene gives Jack and Andy Heck the rope to shape the lineup because it’s their ass in a contract year. I also think that Vince isn’t back from the knee, Forney might be forcing himself onto the field, Uche is inconsistent and Meester will be starting next year.

    My guess is that after the dust clears you have Monroe, Smiley, Meester, Forney and Britton. I think IF Forney has a good camp then he starts because Vince isn’t ready to go yet. I think the true battle is for RG unless somebody just WOWs during Training Camp and Pre Season.

    • tkopa

      That lineup sounds like one that is forming to me as well. Stay tuned in when you go to camp and we can figure this out.

  • CatHouseCrazy

    There was some very telling discussion on Jaguars this week regarding Vinnie. The gist of it is from early in OTA’s there was talk that Vinnie was not moving well. He was sluggish, favoring his repaired leg. The major thing I took from it was it takes two years to come back from an ACL. Vinnie is not two years removed. We often count on NFL players making fantastic recovers at super human speed. But Vinnie is a close to 30, 330 pound man. He will need the full two years and may not get all the way back. IMO he will.
    The Smiley pick up to me makes complete sense. What we found out last year is this team did not have a top quality pass blocking guard. We didn’t even have a middle of the road quality pass blocking guard. So… …we got one. Smiley is the LG opening day, and if he is healthy and stays so, for the next 3 plus years. Uche is going to stick around to take Meesters spot at center or he won’t stick at all. Camp will tell the tale. I believe Forney is the RG this year. When he came out of Hawaii two years before Vinnie he was a big, strong, nasty, run blocking monster. In other words he was vinnie before Vinnie was. Both guys have been high quality, near probowl run blocking guards. In all honesty, Forney is the more acomplished of the two. I think the real battle between these two is about 13 months away. IMO a healthy, completely recovered Vinnie has the edge. Comming to a sweltering practice field near you, summer of 2011.

    • tkopa

      You have become our favorite commentor!

  • JagSoldier

    First I want to congrat Zoltan on getting another question posted on Ask Vic. Now to the line. Im not really having too many bad feelings about it now. I hate that we couldnt find any help in the draft but oh well. I like that competition has been brought in and I really believe that Uche and Vinnie are going to be the odd men out unless Uche takes over at center. Training camp and preseason will be the tell all for it in my opinion. Before the regular season we will know for sure.

    • zoltanfrombudapest

      Thanks Jon!

  • Adam

    I’m pretty confident that Uche will not be fighting for a roster spot. He does, however, have some stark competition for a starting spot. If Smiley stays healthy I think he belongs in that LG spot and if Manuwai doesn’t regress from his performance last year, I still think he’s likely the front runner for the RG spot. Uche can battle for either of those, but I think his most likely starting spot comes at C. He’s had some center experience, but he was never as successful as he was at guard. If he can show that he can play at a higher level than Meester the spot will be his. Just my thoughts…

  • zoltanfrombudapest

    Now my take about the 3 RG candidate:
    I think Uche is the safest: He is the only legit C who can challenge Brad Meester. Gene will not let him go. At least not yet. He is in his contract year (more about the subject soon…). He is a lock.
    Which bring me the battle of Forney and Manuwai: I think they can be stay witth the team together; although Vinnie’s position is shakened this week. Being playing consistently on the 2nd team- bad omen for a starter…
    I think I would put Forney to the RG spot; and if Gene decide to give Manuwai a shot; he will be the backup LG (Hey Smiley have injury issues right? You need a proven backup there-Vinnie) If I were Gene I would KEEP EVERYONE form the “Meester; Uche; Forney; Smiley; Vinnie. 5 guys to 3 positions. Now you have depth and you must not fear from a another ’08 O-line catastrophy… But that’s just me. Many will depend on how Haslem; Newton and Estes will perform in OTAs and Training camp. If they are showing signs; some of the veterans will be in danger. If not. Gene will keep the whole bunch- maybe he try to sign a couple of FAs who was cut.

    All of sudden the O-line and NOT the D-line is something to watch veeeeeeery closely Jaguars fans!