There are mixed reviews about the Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line heading into the 2020 NFL season.
Remember the number 33. That’s the number of times Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Gardner Minshew was sacked last season. It could have been worse as the rookie signal-caller spent plenty of time escaping the pocket to avoid defensive linemen, twice his size, attempting to break him in half.
It was a decent season for Minshew, who the Jacksonville Jaguars drafted in the sixth round of the NFL Draft in 2019, but it was also a learning experience on the fly. No one expected the Washington State product to have to come in and engineer a season that was supposed to be Nick Foles’ reclamation project.
And no thought the kid who looked lost in the preseason at times would be able to win six games as a starter, the most of any rookie quarterback in the NFL last season.
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Now, the second chapter of Minshew’s career is about to be written. This time, will he have an opportunity to stay in the pocket, let the play develop, and will his weapons on the outside and in the backfield complement his strengths better in 2020.
The Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line will have a say in how that all evolves on a weekly basis.
The problem with the team’s offensive line, as if we haven’t noticed, it was one of the worst aspects of the offense last season and not much was done to erase the errors it created as a unit. Ask head coach Doug Marrone or general manager David Caldwell and they will tell you the offensive line has a chance to be very good this coming season. Ask the local media and they will tell you another story.
In this case, success is in the eye of the beholder.
Bryce Lazenby of Titansized.com, the site dedicated to everything about the Tennessee Titans on FanSided.com, recently ranked the offensive lines of all four AFC South teams. The Jaguars did not fare well and for good measure.
In his story, all five of the starter return from last season with a few changes to the team’s roster along the line.
"“The Jags, without a question, have the weakest line in the division,” he writes. “Barring something unforeseen, they look ready to trot out the same group as last year.”"
The Jaguars may look a bit different this season as Will Richardson has been moved to the left side of the line to challenge tackle Cam Robinson. The Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff hopes he can push Robinson, who did not perform well in 2019 after missing 2018 with an ACL injury. Richardson’s versatility is a plus as he can move along the line as needed.
The other area of the line to watch is at right tackle. Richardson moved from that position, sharing time with A.J. Cann. Cann is now listed as the starter but may see competition from fourth-round draft pick Ben Bartch.
"“The Jags were a middle-of-the-pack rated pass blocking team last year, but one of the worst-rated run-blocking teams in the league,” Lazenby added.“I don’t see any way that changes this year. This is by no means the worst line in the league, but it is the worst in the division. I expect the Jags’ offense to struggle again in 2020.”"