Jaguars Beef Up Offensive Line
Commentary By Sports Director Sam Kouvaris
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – In the past few days the Jaguars have signed over 1,320 lbs of offensive linemen and they just might need it. In Sunday's game against Tennessee, the Jaguars lost two starting guards and finished the game limping across the front line. The weird part is that their options are limited because their most versatile lineman is already in the lineup.
If Brad Meester gets healthy, it gives them many more options because Dennis Norman can probably play all five positions. When Meester returns they can put him back at center or he could even play guard again (you might have forgotten that he played guard the first year he was with the Jaguars).
Still, they went out and signed some very big offensive linemen because both Vince Manuwai and Maurice Williams have ended up on injured reserve. Manuwai with a torn ACL and Williams a torn bicep tendon, suffered in pre-game warm-ups at Tennessee.
So in succession the Jaguars signed Milford Brown, 6-5 330, Chad Slaughter, 6-8 340 and Todd Wade, 6-8 314. That's a lot of offensive linemen in terms of size and quantity.
What were they doing out there without jobs?
That's because they're somewhat flawed in some way. Either older, injured, unmotivated or whatever. But they're not among the elite. But you know what, that doesn't matter. Where the Jaguars are in need of help is at guard, perhaps the least "skilled" of the positions on the field. They are not un-skilled players, but they don't need a lot of special skills to work in the line. It's a job for somebody who likes the hand-to-hand combat, the tough physical work on every play that's essential for any team that wants to run the ball and wear people down over the course of a game.
They'll miss Williams and Manuwai but if you had to be depleted somewhere, that's the place.
This is also the way a lot of guys get jobs in the NFL. As cold hearted as it sounds, another player getting hurt means you might get your chance to shine. "You have to be prepared," Paul Spicer said. He should know. Joel Smengee was injured when Spicer got a shot and made it count.
I'm not surprised that some guys were injured in the opening game. It's a faster, harder game once the regular season starts and sometimes it takes a little time to adjust. I'm still a bit confused about Williams' injury in pre-game. Even Jack Del Rio said, "I'm a little tired of two years in a row somebody getting injured in pregame."
They do hit in the pregame, but I never thought it was that much. (Last year Josh Scobee hurt himself in the pregame opener)
Buffalo can score but I think it's a low scoring game this week.
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