The Jacksonville Jaguars are bringing the Walker Little experiment at left guard to a halt, at least temporarily. Against the Tennessee Titans, Little was pulled to the sidelines Ezra, and Cleveland took his spot in the offensive line.
Update: Walker Little is back at the left guard, seems like the coaching staff only inteded to plug Ezra Cleveland in one drive.
Walker Little started at left guard against the San Francisco 49ers but his natural position is left tackle, where he lined up four games to start the season. However, the coaching staff moved him to guard in Week 5 once Cam Robinson returned from a suspension for violations to the league's performance-enhancing drug policy.
In theory, the move made sense, since Robinson has only lined up at left tackle throughout his career. Also, the teams had a revolving door at left guard and the hope was that Little would put an end to it. Unfortunately, he played just a few snaps inside in Week 5 before he suffered an MCL injury. He went on to sit out the next three games and returned against the Niners.
Even though the Jaguars had acquired Ezra Cleveland, who has 49 games of starting experience, from the Minnesota Vikings at the trade deadline, head coach Doug Pederson said that Little was the starter at left guard moving forward. The team might have seen enough from Little to think Cleveland would have a bigger impact, at least against the Titans.
The Jaguars are rolling with Ezra Cleveland vs. the Titans, they're 13-0 at halftime
Cleveland, a second-round pick by the Vikes in 2020, can play both guard positions. He became a starter early in his rookie season and proceeded to play 53 consecutive games before a foot sprain put an end to the streak. The former Boise State Bronco was still nursing the injury when he joined the Jaguars but has been fully healthy the past two games.
Heading into the game, Cleveland got a few reps at left guard. Offensive coordinator Press Taylor said Thursday that if that's what coach Pederson wanted, he was fully behind the decision. Looking back, it seems like the Jaguars were planning ahead.
As of this writing, the Jaguars lead the Titans 10-7. Cleveland joined the lineup in the second half. It's possible that the Jaguars thought they could make a switch without compromising the team's performance, and that's been the case so far.
Trevor Lawrence is 12-of-19 for 117 yards with one touchdown and no picks. Running back Travis Etienne has 10 carries for 38 yards (3.8 yards per carry) and wide receiver Calvin Ridley leads the team with three catches for 51 yards. On defense, linebacker Foyesade Oluokun has a sack and a fumble recovery. They've limited Derrick Henry to seven yards for 15 yards and Will Levis has a measly 16 passing yards.
All things considered, this has been a good first half for the Jacksonville Jaguars. They needed to get back on track after an embarrassing loss to the San Francisco 49ers the prior game, and they're doing just that in Week 11. Now, they must keep building a lead and make sure that the Titans are unable to catch up.