Jaguars Preseason 2019: Playing with a complete offensive line
By David Levin
The gang’s all here, well most of them. The Jaguars play the Miami Dolphins on Thursday night with their five starting offensive linemen all on the field.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will do something on Thursday night against the Miami Dolphins they have not been able to do during the first two preseason games of 2019.
Start a football game with their entire projected offensive line intact. While the coaching staff has been cautious about playing starters to avoid injuries, the Jaguars have been waiting for their big guys upfront to be healthy enough to come together for the first time since Week 2 of the 2018 regular season.
Yes, that’s a pretty big deal if this team wants to establish continuity and help the run game return to 2017 form. It also means the organization can feel more comfortable about Nick Foles walking out onto the field in Miami and playing a series or two of football with that kind of protection in front of him.
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"Per Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com, “Jaguars coach Doug Marrone said final determination will be made tonight and tomorrow, but it appears most of the team’s starters will play against Miami on Thursday. Only starters Marrone ruled out are WR Marqise Lee (just off PUP this week), TE Geoff Swaim (foot) and DT Marcell Dareus (elbow) … Others that won’t play include RB Alfred Blue, LB Quincy Williams, TE Josh Oliver.”"
There has been plenty of talk how Marrone and his staff have handled training camp and the preseason so far, but this is the dress rehearsal for the regular season – the time where fans finally get to see big-name talent on the field, getting a taste of the speed of the game and have a chance to hit someone other than teammates in practice.
It’s all about seeing what has materialized after weeks of preparation in camp and in the various position rooms.
"“I just want to see it how it plays out,” Marrone said to the media on Tuesday. “Really, I think the same thing. You put a lot of stuff in your mind of what you’re looking to see. Just like you guys, I’m anxious and curious to see what we’re doing well and there is probably a lot of things that we are going to need to still work on in these next couple weeks before the season starts.”"
There will always be things to tweak and improve. The Jaguars offensive line has been one of the bigger question marks this offseason. Cam Robinson returned from the PUP list last week. There have been other injuries in camp to Andrew Norwell at left guard. Rookie right tackle Jawaan Taylor has missed time as well.
If there is some good news, it has been the work at right guard where AJ Cann is fighting to keep his job while second-year pro, Will Richardson has been the talk of camp and how he may have taken the biggest leap forward of any player on the current roster.
Marrone said he was interested in seeing Taylor out there too, as he progresses and prepares for his first season in the NFL.
"“He missed practice, but he is fine. He is fine, ready to go and we will see how he does,” Marrone added. “Obviously, we want him to do well, but like I have said before, I’m sure a lot of these guys will go out there and if they play and they go against quality players, Miami has a very good roster, a very good football team. I think it will show us, ‘Hey, in these next two weeks, you want to make sure you know what you need to work on and what you are not doing well.’”"
The Jaguars grabbed Taylor at the top of the second-round as he slipped to them. He was brought in to help solidify the right side of the line and help the running game that also slipped to 19th in the league last season. He has been pushed by Cedric Ogbuehi in camp as well.