Sam's Commentary

September 06, 2014 Commentary Archive

Jaguars/Eagles: It's What's Up Front That Counts

by Sam Kouvaris
Posted September 06, 2014 ===========================================================================

While the off season has been full of quarterback and giant video boards talk, the on-field product for the Jaguars this year will be tested in an unglamorous way.

Up front. Both sides.

We can talk about the future for Blake Bortles and whether Chad Henne is the right call all we want. We can debate whether the lack of a real veteran in the wide receiving corps will be exposed by opposing defenses once the regular season starts. And any discussion about the receivers can spark a debate on how the Jaguars spent their draft picks, taking Marquis Lee and Allen Robinson back to back. But any discussion about the success, or lack thereof of the 2014 Jaguars has to start with the offensive and defensive lines.

Acquiring Chris Clemons, Red Bryant, Ziggy Hood and Dekoda Watson in the off-season as free agents showed how General Manager Dave Caldwell wanted this 2014 team to perform. Too often last year, double-digit losses early in the season were because when the offense sputtered, the defense couldn't hold. This season, Caldwell and Head Coach Gus Bradley are hoping the money spent on defensive free agents will keep the Jaguars in games. Bryant and Clemons will start on the defensive line, giving the Jaguars two veteran players who have proven track records. Bryant might be the linchpin, taking up double and triple teams, freeing Clemons, Sen'Derrick Marks and others to beat their man and make a play. At least that's the plan.

Hood will rotate in and do the same, with the team hoping Watson will have the speed and the instincts to rush the passer when necessary. You might hear the terms "cheetah" and "lightning" thrown around a lot this year in passing situations, both denoting defensive personnel packages designed to get the maximum number of speed players on the field at one time.

The Lone free-agent acquisition on the offensive line is veteran Zane Beadles. Like the defensive newcomers, Beadles is in the prime of his career and has a proven track record. For the Jaguars, he's the own known quantity up front. Luke Joeckel is technically a second year player and starts at the all-important left tackle spot. But with only 5 games in 2013 before he suffered a season-ending injury, you could call this rookie year 2.0 for Joeckel. He's already good, worthy of his second overall selection. But he's not the elite player yet the Jaguars hope he'll be. The rest of the line is a big question mark. Most coaches admit that linemen in the NFL have a gradual growth in their development. There aren't any giant leaps forward as there can be with the skill players. So often players are put in situations they're hoping they'll grow into. Such is the case of Brandon Linder at right guard. The Jaguars see great "upside" in Linder, so he's starting right now with the team hoping he grows into the player they think he can be. But he's not that yet. To his right, Cam Bradfield is a known quantity and a valuable stopgap player until Austin Pasztor returns. But Bradfield isn't a superstar. And Pasztor is a project in his own right. In the middle, Jacques McClendon won the center job almost by default. Mike Brewster never could perform at the level the Jaguars had hoped he would and McClendon, a guard by trade, was plugged in until Luke Bowanko, a sixth round draft pick, can push himself into the starting lineup.

None of what Toby Gerhardt, Lee, Robinson, Marcedes Lewis or Chad Henne does can be done successfully without the five guys up front getting their job done consistently well. Same thing with Alan Ball, Dwayne Gratz, Jon Cyprien and Winston Guy. Without effective pressure up front and some kind of run stopping force from the D-Line, they're job is almost impossible.

So watching the game against the Eagles Sunday, look at what's happening up front. It'll give you a clue as to what's going to happen in the back.

And on the scoreboard.

Commentary by Sam Kouvaris

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ARCHIVE of The College Weekly Report

09-06-2014 - Hotel Domestique: (Almost) Cycling Paradise
08-16-2014 - Henne Takes Control, Jags Move Forward
08-15-2014 - Keep Improving and Jaguars Have A Chance
07-12-2014 - Chasing Greatness: The Right Way
07-01-2014 - Team USA Brings Us Together: Again
06-08-2014 - A Special Day in Town
06-06-2014 - Jaguars Week 2 OTA's: More Progress
05-28-2014 - Jaguars 1st OTA: Plenty of Questions
05-17-2014 - Jaguars Rookie Camp: A Look At The Future
05-15-2014 - Jaguars "Sustainability" Seems Upward
05-12-2014 - Kaymer Wins Players: Wins Fans Too
05-08-2014 - The Players: First Round Update
05-07-2014 - Players Preview 2014
05-07-2014 - Players 2014: Who Can Win?
05-07-2014 - Players 2014: Will The Greens Be Up To Par?
05-05-2014 - Players 2014: Some Greens Still Closed
05-05-2014 - The Players : Wide Open
05-03-2014 - The Players Field Almost Set
05-03-2014 - Pre Draft Jaguars Ramblings
04-11-2014 - Jaguars Buzz is Real
04-04-2014 - Final Four Bigger in Big 'D'
03-28-2014 - Gators in Elite Eight: Want More
03-27-2014 - Gators vs. UCLA: Toughest Test Yet
03-26-2014 - Bradley Looking To Upgrade Team, Self
03-23-2014 - Gators Change Mindset, Beat Pitt
03-21-2014 - Gators "Survive and Advance"
03-20-2014 - Gators Ranking Doesn't Matter
03-19-2014 - Gators in Orlando For NCAA's
03-14-2014 - Jaguars Free Agency: Impressed, Not Surprised
03-12-2014 - Gabbert Gone
03-08-2014 - Gators Still "Chasing Greatness"
02-27-2014 - "Personal Foul" on the Dutch
02-22-2014 - NASCAR: Looking To The Past To Find The Future
02-13-2014 - Jax: An Events Town"
02-05-2014 - National Signing Day: "Mark Your Calendar!"
01-07-2014 - As Good As It Gets: FSU Wins National Championship
01-06-2014 - FSU vs. Team of Destiny
01-05-2014 - Fisher/Malzahn, FSU/Auburn Contrast in Style
01-05-2014 - FSU A Close-Knit Group
01-02-2014 - Jaguars Talking Vs. Doing:
Does Bradley's "Conviction" Mean Jaguars Wins Are On The Way?
12-29-2013 - Decisions to Make: Jaguars Need A Lot
12-23-2013 - Meester's Day
12-22-2013 - Jaguars Don't Have Enough
12-20-2013 - Jaguars: Who Wants To Be Here?
12-19-2013 - Meeter Retires: The REAL Pride of the Jaguars
12-15-2013 - Jaguars: Three Forward One Back
12-06-2013 - Jaguars Beat Texans Again: Learning How to Win
12-01-2013 - Florida/FSU: Different Directions?
11-18-2013 - Jaguars 2nd Half: "Better But Not Good"
11-14-2013 - Locker Room Culture: Off Limits?
11-10-2013 - Jaguars Victory: A Lot More Than Just One Win
11-03-2013 - Do We Worry About Blackmon?
11-02-2013 - Florida/Georgia: It's Never Easy
10-27-2013 - Jaguars in London: Fun & Frustration:Equal Parts of Both
10-26-2013 - Jacksonville's on a Global Stage
10-25-2013 - Shad Khan "Living The Dream"
10-03-2013 - Jaguars Building for the "Distant" Future
09-30-2013 - Jaguars: Not Getting Better Soon
09-23-2013 - Jaguars Results Not Unexpected
09-17-2013 - Jaguars Ups and Downs
09-10-2013 - Not What They Were Expecting
09-07-2013 - Jaguars Give Reason For Hope
08-25-2013 - "Better and Improved": The Jaguars Buzzwords
08-21-2013 - Jaguars 2013: It's Not About Winning
08-12-2013 - Jaguars Assessment: Is "Not Terrible" Fair?
08-01-2013 - Jaguars Camp: No Surprises But Not Routine
07-26-2013 - Gus Bradley's First Camp: "Slow Down!"
07-20-2013 - Big Thinking Khan Style
06-20-2013 - Its Summer, It's Hot, No Kidding!
05-31-2013 - The Ever Expanding "Season"
05-15-2013 - The Players: One Of A Kind
05-01-2013 - Tiger At The Players
05-08-2013 - Jaguars Needs: Everything
04-03-2013 - Golf in North Florida: It is & isn't all about The Players
01-30-2013 - Players Win Games

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