Jacksonville Jaguars Offensive Line Ranked 18th According to Pro Football Focus
The Jacksonville Jaguars had a host of problems on offense in 2014, and the front offense and coaching staff recognized some of those problems when they fired offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. Still, there were more issues than just the offensive scheme and playcalling – most notably the play of the offensive line.
The Jaguars allowed their quarterbacks to be sacked a league-leading 71 times in 2014. Luke Joeckel, the 2nd overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, was a disappointment in his second season coming back from a season ending injury and free agent pickup Zane Beadles took a decent while to get settled in at left guard. The Jaguars started two rookies for most of the season at center and right guard, and the right tackle position was a mess for the entire year. With all that in mind, it’s pretty safe to say the Jaguars had the worst offensive line in the NFL right?
Well the fellas over at Pro Football Focus don’t think so, as they ranked the 2014 Jaguars’ offensive line as the 18th-best in the NFL.
"18. Jacksonville Jaguars (31st)Pass Block Ranking: 15th, Run Blocking Ranking: 25th, Penalties Ranking: 6thStud: There’s no doubt the Jaguars are happy with just how quickly Brandon Linder (+16.6) has acclimatized to life in the NFL. He’s contributed to a top-notch group of rookie guards.Dud: With eight sacks allowed and a team-worst pass blocking grade, the Jags must have hoped for more from Luke Joeckel by now.Breakdown: They got better when they replaced Jacques McClendon with Luke Bowanko and have taken a huge step forward this year. A new offensive coordinator will still need to get more out of a unit that didn’t help their rushers enough in the run game."
PFF’s assessment is pretty spot on for the most part. Brandon Linder was outstanding, especially for a third round pick in his rookie year. The center position stabilized once 6th round pick Luke Bowanko got the starting nod, and Luke Joeckel wasn’t the plug-and-play starter the team probably hoped for when they made him the second player taken in the 2013 draft. Joeckel ranked 67th out of 84 offensive tackles who played 25% of their team’s snaps. Obviously that’s not good, but it’s noteworthy to point out he outranked the player he was chosen after (Eric Fisher at 72) and his former Texas A&M teammate (Jake Matthews at 84).
While it’s easy to focus on the sack numbers, my eyes go to the number in the parentheses – 31. The Jaguars improved significantly from 2013, mostly thanks to savvy moves made by general manager David Caldwell. You can only improve so much in one offseason, and replacing the trainwreck of an interior offensive line the Jaguars had in 2013 was not an easy task. Let’s give the young guys on the offensive line another year to develop, and then we can judge them.