While the ineptitude at the quarterback position for the Jacksonville Jaguars currently occupies the headlines, struggles on the offensive line have also become worrisome.
The conversation surrounding the Jacksonville Jaguars as the regular season approaches centers around the quarterback position. An “open competition” was placed upon Blake Bortles and Chad Henne through the preseason for the starting job. It is unclear as to how much of an open opportunity it actually was as Bortles has been announced as the starter for the season opener against the Houston Texans.
But while the questions at the quarterback position have been at the forefront, another issue on the Jaguars offense has become increasingly alarming: the offensive line.
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In the last two preseason games against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers, the offensive line for the Jaguars has had rough outings. Jacksonville is having trouble holding blocks and has struggled mightily with creating running lanes for the running backs. Opponents have been getting constant pressure in the backfield, thwarting many chances for the Jaguars offense to gain momentum.
The Jaguars are a team wanting to run the football, and run it often. Doing so will be a futile effort if the play of the offensive line does not improve dramatically, especially with preventing quick penetration from opposing defensive lines. Defenders have been in the Jacksonville backfield before Jaguars running backs could even blink.
The Jaguars are still tinkering with the lineup, and a majority of potential starting offensive lineman played well into the second half Thursday night against the Panthers. Head coach Doug Marrone is trying to find a starting unit that will provide the best opportunity for success.
Though there are concerns as a whole, the biggest question marks on the line are at the guard positions. Patrick Omameh and Luke Bowanko have split time at left guard as each try to separate themselves from one another, while A.J Cann has struggled at holding down the right guard position. Cann committed three penalties against Carolina, while Bowanko picked up an obvious holding call of his own after getting beat off the ball by the defensive tackle. Penalties and penetration have put Jacksonville’s offense behind the eight ball multiple times this preseason. An offense trying to get its feet underneath itself needs to find a way to better control the line of scrimmage, and cut out drive-crippling penalties.
Troublesome quarterback play is rightfully the main focus currently for the Jacksonville Jaguars. But a struggling offensive line has become increasingly distressing, and that combination is a recipe for disaster, and cause for concern as the regular season approaches for the Jaguars.