The Jacksonville Jaguars offense has struggled coming out of the gate in 2016, but the offensive line has improved greatly according to Pro Football Focus.
Sitting at the bye with a 1-3 record is a disappointment for the Jacksonville Jaguars given the high expectations levied on them this offseason, but there are some positives to point to among the sea of negatives.
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One of the bigger (and pleasant) surprises of the season has been the offensive line. While there seemed to be some manufactured questions about what the line would look like to start the season, it ended up exactly how everyone expected – (from left to right) Kelvin Beachum, Luke Joeckel, Brandon Linder, A.J. Cann, and Jermey Parnell. The left side was clearly the area of concern given the tackle was coming off a torn ACL and the guard was playing along the interior for the first time in his career, but there appeared to be stability.
That stability has unsurprisingly wavered thanks to injuries, but the Jaguars have still shown marked improvement in 2016. So much so that Pro Football Focus ranked them 14th among all the offensive lines in the NFL:
"14. Jacksonville Jaguars (23)Starters: LT Kelvin Beachum, LG Patrick Omameh, C Brandon Linder, RG A.J. Cann, RT Jermey ParnellThe Jaguars’ offensive line has been solid this season, especially when LT Kelvin Beachum has been healthy. Luke Joeckel (now headed to IR with a knee injury) has been better inside at guard, though curiously still unable to pass protect well, surrendering a hit and six hurries inside where he should have less space to defend. C Brandon Linder has been one of the better players in the league at his position, allowing just two total pressures so far and sitting fourth among PFF’s center rankings with a grade of 82.5."
Pro Football Focus clearly must favor pass blocking over run blocking because any offensive line that powers a running attack as anemic as what the Jaguars have had over the first 4 weeks should not be ranked this high. That said, the pass blocking has been noticeably better, particularly along the interior. It’s a shame Joeckel got injured because he was really starting to cement himself as a serviceable guard alongside Brandon Linder who’s essentially playing at an All Pro level.
Things are going to change along the offensive line as injuries mount, but so far so good for the Jaguars.