With the latest news of Eugene Monroe’s concussion, the Jaguars find themselves running very, very thin a the offensive line positions. They aren’t yet as close as the Jaguars secondary was last season when they were signing guys off the street – well maybe they’re there, but it’s just the preseason so we don’t care as much – but the depth is getting dangerously low.
General Manager Gene Smith has had everything going his way for a bit. He had the support of the old regime and now has Shahid Khan and Mike Mularkey behind him as well. While he has had a few slipups (nothing major thus far), the failure to address the offensive line this offseason in free agency may ultimately end up hurting the team more than they expect.
A quarterback cannot throw without an offensive line. A running back (MJD or otherwise) cannot run without an offensive line. A team cannot win without an offensive line.
Smith knew this when he became general manager in 2009. He immediately went out and secured bookend tackles Monroe and Eben Britton. While Monroe has been great and Britton has been a little bit lackluster, mostly due to injury, the Jags overall depth at offensive line positions is the major concern. You want those big guys up front who can start together for years. But when it’s obvious that it isn’t working out as well as you had hoped, you need to make sure that the depth is there.
As injuries continue to plague those in the trenches, Khan may need to take a long look at the free agency approach that Smith takes. He likes to build through the draft, but when your depth at crucial positions is thin, sometimes it’s best to just go out and get your guy.
Carl Nicks could have been that guy at guard and could very easily fill in for Will Rackley (He probably would outplay him too). While Monroe will be back eventually (he may not play on Friday against the Saints) a look at depth for the future needs to be done. Some teams like the Vikings have changed their fortunes drastically by getting guys like Steve Hutchinson in free agency, if the O-line doesn’t pan out this year the Jags may have to change their philosophy – or their head of personnel – in order to ensure they are competitive.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims