Why a Left Guard is a smart choice for the Jaguars


I really like a power running game.  Nothing is more fun to watch, to me, than to have the lead late in the game and then run the ball without fear.  Play after play, the snap, the offensive line fires, the wall pushes forward and the running back gets 4 yards.  That to me is real “in your face” football.

That is the football the Jaguars are going to return to.  Greg Jones, Maurice, Rashed Jennings, these guys can run and punish people.  An added benefit to being able to run is the play action pass.  The linebackers respect the run, Marcedes slips deep and POW, 25 yards down field. We are unstoppable. That is Jaguar football.

The best play action pass comes when the team can run to the left. This allows the quarterback to roll to the right. For a right handed QB, this is more comfortable. So here is something you may not know, The Jaguars are very good at running to the left.  Eugene Monroe and Vince Manuwai turned out to be a very good combination in run blocking.  ProFootballFocus rated Vince the 13th best run blocking guard and Eugene Monroe the 15th best run blocking tackle.

The statistics provided by the NFL for offensive lines back this up.  They have a power rating for offensive lines which says if it is 3rd or 4th down and 2 or less yards to go, what percent of the time do you make the first down.  The Jaguars are 2nd in the NFL in gaining the first down running to the left. They got the first down 88% of the time.  They are tops, as in no one better, in negative yards running to the left.  They almost never lose yards running to the left.

According to ProFootballFocus, the right side of the Jaguars is weak. Uche Nwaneri is rated one of the worst run blocking guards.  Eben Britton is 29th in run blocking for tackles.  This is why the Jaguars almost abandoned running to the right later in the season.

Uche is a decent pass blocker but Eben Britton is considered almost the worst pass blocker in the NFL among tackles.  Vince Manuwai was a bad pass blocker while Eugene Monroe improved throughout the season. Brad Meester was a disaster this year at run blocking.  So Vince, a bad pass blocker, is with Eugene, and Uche, a bad run blocker, is with Eben. Meester isn’t helping in the center. Let’s rethink this lineup.

So here is my thinking, Uche moves to center.  Vince Manuwai moves to the right side to team with Eben on run blocking and Gene finds a new left guard in the draft. Preferably one that is a great run blocking guard and decent pass blocking.

What we would then have is strong pass blocking from the center to the left tackle and a great run blocking left side.  We have Eben Britton hopefully getting better with Vince Manuwai getting stronger to have a decent run blocking right side.  Pass blocking on the right side remains an issue, so Marcedes will still be called into blocking action. The key being we can now run to either side successfully and provide David with a little more pass protection.

I like the Uche at center idea a lot. He is young and willing to learn. I think the Jaguars tried him at his position during the season.  It stops the pressure up the middle problem that David has.  I’d like to leave Vince with Eugene on the left side, but he and Eben I think can form a great right side run blocking duo.  I say we go looking for a left guard.

Later we will profile some guards in this years draft.  Even one good solid offensive line guy can make a huge difference in this teams offense. I think Gene knows that.

– Terry O’Brien