December 11, 2011; Jacksonville FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive tackle Roy Miller (90) rushes as Jacksonville Jaguars guard Will Rackley (65) blocks during the first half at Jacksonville EverBank Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Nothing is set in stone yet but the Jacksonville Jaguars look to have a complete unit at offensive line. Left tackle Eugene Monroe, left guard Will Rackley, center Brad Meester, right guard Uche Nwaneri, and right tackle Luke Joeckel make a more fearsome five-some than the patchwork line the Jags threw out each down in 2012. The offensive line for the Jaguars will likely not be a liability like it was in 2012.
I’ve outlined the potential for Joeckel to be better than Cameron Bradfield and Guy Whimper were at right tackle in 2012, but it’s really the left guard position that intrigues me the most. Will Rackley is coming into his third season in the NFL and is looking to make some major development in 2013. His second year wasn’t much of a season as he missed every game due to injury. Based on his rookie numbers, all he can do is improve.
Rackley’s 2011 rookie year was all about taking his lumps. He allowed six sacks, seven hits, and 27 quarterback hurries during his 16 games at left tackle. Per Pro Football Focus he never graded higher than +2.0 overall and he recorded an overall rating of -30.4 on the year. As the Jaguars struggled to keep Blaine Gabbert on his feet in his rookie season, Rackley proved to be part of the problem rather than part of the solution.
Things were looking up before the 2012 season began, though. By all accounts the Jaguars coaches were pleased with his attitude, work ethic, and improvement. He sounded hungry in statements to the press and on his Twitter. Yet he couldn’t prove that he could improve over his rookie season.
In 2013 he will get that chance. He will be playing with better, more improved players along the line. He will be playing with a more experienced quarterback behind him. He will be playing with another year of watching and learning under his belt. Ultimately, things are looking up for Rackley.
And things are looking up for the line overall.
Joeckel figures to be an immediate force at right tackle. Monroe, entering his contract year, will likely be playing better than in the past – and he’s been quite excellent in the past. Meester is in the twilight of his career but can easily man the center position and play well with those around him. Nwaneri, hopefully not hampered with knee problems, will be looking to show that he’s one of the best players on the line. All in all, it’s coming together. We still have offseason workouts and training camp to get to, but the excitement around having a real offensive line unit that can practice together consistently and becomes a single, cohesive unit is building. I’ve noticed and I’m certain the Jaguars quarterbacks have noticed as well.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims