The Jacksonville Jaguars’ offensive line has held its own in 2021.
The Jaguars’ offensive line is far from elite. However, they have done a good job of protecting quarterback Trevor Lawrence this season. Sure, having a signal-caller that can feel the pass rush and buy himself some time helps. On the other hand, the unit has been even though they are missing two starters.
Right guard A.J. Cann went down against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 4. Center Brandon Linder was carted off the field after suffering a knee injury the following game. If that wasn’t enough, second-year offensive guard Ben Bartch exited the Dolphins’ matchup with a concussion. Nevertheless, the offensive line still did a good job of protecting Trevor Lawrence for most of the game. They did allow two sacks but they were near the end of the game.
In particular, Meyer had praise for Tyler Shatley, who started in Linder’s place, and Will Richardson, who joined the lineup after Bartch left.
"Everybody loves the guy [Shatley]. He’s a guy that is not that big a dropoff from Brandon. Obviously, Brandon’s our starter but Shat played pretty good. The other guy is arguably the most improved player on the team. One of them is Will Richardson, and he’s a swing tackle, swing guard, now and to go into that kind of game where they were playing bare defensive and blitzing. They pressured, that was the most pressure we’ve seen all year."
Shatley played every single offensive snap in Week 6 and posted a Pro Football Focus grade of 57.6. Meanwhile, Richardson appeared in 42 offensive snaps and earned a PFF overall grade of 50.0.
Now, nobody will confuse Jacksonville’s offensive line with the Washington Football Team’s famous Hogs but they have performed up to their talent level. In six games, Lawrence has been sacked ten times, eight of them in the last four games. At this pace, they’re going to give up around 30 this season, which would be an improvement over last year when they allowed 44.
It will be interesting to see if the group improves as the season progresses. Left tackle Cam Robinson, left guard Andrew Norwell, and A.J. Cann is set to become free agents next offseason. They’re currently trying to put as much good tape as they can in order to get the best possible contract in 2022.