I stand corrected. I have some qualms about the offensive line and the continual injury struggles that seem to plague the Jaguars. Yet with the win over the Saints on Friday night with the starting tackles not playing (right tackle Eben Britton was playing guard), my concern is quickly leaving me. The offensive line looked solid, cohesive, and in tune with quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Gabbert was given enough time to make the throws he needs to (even if he got hit a couple times) and the receivers were given enough time to make their moves so that Gabbert could hit them. That all comes from the offensive line being able to hold of a strong defense. If I were Saints defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo I would be immensely frustrated.
I criticized the O-line and GM Gene Smith last week because of a need that I saw as glaring: good offensive line depth. I did not trust Smith’s assessment of his cherished draft picks and offseason pickups, mostly because I had yet to see them used and be effective. Fortunately for us Jaguars fans, I was proven wrong. The line looked strong, showed they can block for anybody ranging from Montell Owens to Rashad Jennings to Keith Toston, and they knew how to move effectively.
While the guys on the line weren’t all starters, I was especially impressed with their movement. Finding an offensive line that can move like on unit is difficult and I felt that the group on the field had a cohesion that is hard to develop in such a short period of time. Each player was individually adapting to the people on each side of them as well as the man bearing down on him. It was a good show to watch. If you’re able to go back and watch Friday’s game, take a peek at the footwork and movement, it’s pretty good.
I’ve gushed about Gabbert, made hyperbolic statements about Brad Meester, and I’ve stuck by Smith as he has rebuilt this team this offseason. While questioning the actions of someone is ok, I was wrong and the I’m happy to say it. The Jags don’t look like they’ll miss too much this year if Eugene Monroe battles concussions, Will Rackley isn’t up to form when he returns from injury, and if Britton is forced to abandon the right side again. In fact, if the trend from last week continues I think we can expect some serious development and solid play from the Jagaurs.
In Gene We Trust,
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims