From Luke Joeckel at left tackle to Jermey Parnell at right tackle, the five guys in the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line unit will be the critical pieces to a 2015 season that hopes to show improvement. It’s year three of a major roster overhaul and rebuild and the Jags desperately need an offensive line with up to three new starters to lead the way.
The struggles of the offensive line in 2014 aren’t just about the running game or allowing Blake Bortles to take more sacks than any other quarterback. The unit looked disjointed, unaccustomed to the tasks they were being asked to do, and, with the exception of guard Brandon Linder, couldn’t quite figure out how to play their individual positions (much less as a cohesive unit).
This 2015 offseason has seen an emphasis placed on keeping Bortles upright and improving the running game. With the additions of Stefen Wisniewski at center an Parnell at right tackle, both of those offensive aspects should improve. If rookie guard A.J. Cann is able to motivate the underperforming Zane Beadles or surpass him, then the offensive line revamp may be complete.
Player personnel matter, but coaching may matter more for the Jaguars.
Doug Marrone left his head coaching gig with the Buffalo Bills to head up the offensive line group with the Jacksonville Jaguars. His addition may be the most critical for the Jags as he brings years of experience and a track record of success to the unit. Whether working with veteran players or young, inexperienced ones, Marrone is known for crafting successful O-line groups. No other positions in the NFL need to work together as much as those on the offensive line and Marrone is the guy to bring the Jaguars up to par.
While T.J. Yeldon and Bortles get the most attention for the future of the Jaguars’ offense, it’s the big guys up front that will impact each and every play and provide the foundation for the skill players to succeed. Bortles can’t throw well without protection and Yeldon can’t break big gains without holes being opened for him. In that respect, the offensive line is going to be critical to the 2015 season.
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