Expecting to get a starter at left tackle when they traded for him, the Jacksonville Jaguars must now reshuffle after Branden Albert shockingly retired.
If they were looking to get back to work with a focus of getting better on the field, they are going to have to look past one heck of a distraction.
After a week of training camp, presumed starting left tackle Branden Albert shockingly announced his retirement Monday morning.
"“After nine seasons playing in the National Football League, I have decided to retire from the game that has given me so much,” said Albert. “I would like to thank Mr. Khan and the Jaguars organization, Mr. Ross, Joe Philbin, Dennis Hickey and the Dolphins organization and Mr. Hunt, Carl Peterson, Herm Edwards and the Chiefs organization for providing me with the opportunity of a lifetime…This is such a special league and it’s been an honor and a privilege to play this sport professionally for the past nine years. I wish Coach Marrone and my Jacksonville teammates the best of luck on their journey this season. During my short stint in Jacksonville, I quickly realized that they are working incredibly hard to turn the corner and I truly believe that they will find success in the coming years."
There really isn’t any other way to spin this – this was a disastrous trade for the Jaguars. Yes, they only spent a seventh round pick on Albert but it’s an abject embarrassment that they couldn’t even get their most important offensive line acquisition to stay in the sport, let alone the team, for more than three training camp practices.
Moving forward, this move means Cam Robinson is the starting left tackle. This is probably for the best as Albert was getting pushed around and beat often over the last week, but it’s definitely not ideal to start a rookie at tackle. Cam is going to have a pretty tough draw in week 1 against the Houston Texans facing a healthy J.J Watt and Jadeveon Clowney.
This also shakes up the left guard spot, where there will now be an actual roster battle to see who will end up next to Robinson.
With all the talk of Linder moving back to guard, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Luke Bowanko inserted back at center and Linder over at guard, but we’ll probably get a better idea of how those two spots will shift around over the next week.