Sam's Commentary

August 31, 2016 Commentary Archive

Are The Jaguars 'Hoping" For Success

by Sam Kouvaris
Posted August 31, 2016 ===========================================================================

"I'm not a big fan of hope," former Jaguars linebacker Tom McManus once said to me during an analysis of a game.

Hope is a funny word when it comes to professional sports. On one hand fans can hope things go well. On the other, hope shouldn't be a part of a coaching staff's decision making.

That's why I'm hoping that the Jaguars staff isn't hoping things work out on the left side of their offensive line.

During his daily press conference, Head Coach Gus Bradley said they decision has been made to start Kelvin Beachum at left tackle and Luke Joeckel at left guard for the regular season opener against Green Bay on September 11th. All along they expected Beachum to be back for the third preseason game, at the same time saying it would be a competition for the starting spot.

Clearly, the competition was only between Beachum and himself, whether he'd be physically able to play when asked. His 23 plays against Cincinnati showed what he's capable of doing at the same time showing how he's not conditioned well enough to play an entire game.

Still, Bradley says it was a "body of work" decision and admitted it wasn't a true competition at all.

"I can credit as far as where at left guard he really elevated himself and, I cannot argue, that's what I told him, I cannot argue the fact that you're playing left tackle better than you did last year.," Bradley said of his conversation with Joeckel. "I can't argue the fact that this was a competition back and forth; that's not accurate because Beachum wasn't playing much in training camp. It was more the body of work we saw in what was best."

"The competition did not come out where it was straight from the start because of the number of reps Beachum got, so we went about it a little bit of a different way," Bradley said, trying to put the best spin on an awkward situation. It's the first time in his tenure as head coach that Bradley had to "clarify" some things that were going on. I'm not sure what the big mystery was or if they were just trying to protect Joeckel for some reason but it's obvious they intended for Beachum to be the starter at left tackle, if physically able, from the day they signed him as a free-agent.

"I really appreciate Luke and how he competed at guard and tackle," Bradley continued, echoing what he said earlier in camp. "He improved at both areas. We felt like he did a really good job with Beachum, you know the body of work that he has had and also what he has shown to us in camp."

Most fans will only remember the two times Joeckel was put flat on his back against Cincinnati, once falling into Blake Bortles. Bradley says he saw those as well but is looking beyond and in a larger scope.

"There's plays here and there that you look at, but going into it, we just think that he's got a high, high upside at guard and for us, we got a guard that's playing very well and a guy that's improved at tackle versus where he was last year. For us, selfishly speaking, pretty good deal, a guard and another left tackle for us."

They'll have to trim another 22 players off the current 75-man roster by this weekend. That's why Thursday's game against the Falcons is so fiercely competitive. Roster spots and some NFL futures are on the line. The Jaguars have a lot of decisions between helping now and developing players down the road. Offensive line is one of those positions they'll have to release some players who are capable of staying in the league.

"I think that the depth is coming along there.," Bradley explained. "We feel like [Tyler] Shatley's really starting to perform really well. He had some good plays we showed in the team meeting today. So did [Chris] Reed. He's doing a pretty good job in there, too. We got some decisions to make, that's why this game, a lot of those guys will play."

Without committing to not playing the starters on Thursday night, Bradley said the plan is to see just about everybody else get some playing time. He'll look at the general health of the team regarding tightness, soreness, etc., before he decides if any of the starters will see action against Atlanta. Blake Bortles will not play but Chad Henne could also be on the bench for the entire game. The head coach says it could be Brandon Allen at quarterback and he could play the whole game. Plagued with a back problem for most of training camp, Sheldon Day went through practice on Tuesday and the staff is planning on him getting some reps in the game against the Falcons.. Bradley was asked if he had addressed his players' actions during the National Anthem in light of the recent Colin Kaepernick controversy.

"I have, individually. Just when it comes up in conversation, but we have not addressed it as a team. I think with our team, it is more the communication, they all have their freedoms and things like that, but to communicate and have good conversations about their thoughts, I think is important."

Bradley added he didn't anticipate any similar action by the Jaguars.

Game time is at 7pm Thursday on Channel 4. The pregame show is scheduled for 6:30.

Commentary by Sam Kouvaris

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08-29-2016 - Wake Up Call For Jaguars Vs. Bengals
08-28-2016 - Jaguars "Fact Finding" vs. Bengals
08-23-2016 - Arrow Up On Jaguars
08-20-2016 - South End Zone Project: Khan Wants To Get It Right
08-13-2016 - Jets Game, Training Camp, Jaguars Still Working
08-03-2016 - Bortles Better, Defense Better
07-31-2016 - Stadium Improvements March On
07-29-2016 - FSU/Boise St. To Play Here In 2019
07-28-2016 - Air2G2 Local Company Making Good
07-27-2016 - Smith "Grateful and excited" to be in The Pride
07-27-2016 - Time for Jimmy Smith in The Pride
07-22-2016 - Jaguars Ready To Win Says Malik Jackson
07-22-2016 - Khan On 2016 Roster: "Scary Good"
07-15-2016 - Cryotherapy: The latest in "Sam's Big Comeback"
06-16-2016 - MJD on Jaguars: "They can win the South"
06-15-2016 - Foley To Leave Florida In A Good Spot
06-11-2016 - Marks Returns Optimistic
06-03-2016 - Hurns Deal Good All Around
05-31-2016 - Jaguars TE Thomas: We can be better
05-25-2016 - Hale Irwin at WGV: Winners have the heart of a champion"
05-24-2016 - Jaguars Start OTA's "Good not great."
05-20-2016 - Ramsey Hurt: Jaguars Snake Bit?
05-15-2016 - Day Wins THE PLAYERS 2016
05-13-2016 - Play Suspended At THE PLAYERS in Rd. 2
05-13-2016 - Wilcox Hole In One At 17
05-13-2016 - THE PLAYERS Round 2: Low Scores Again
05-12-2016 - First Round Players Notes
05-12-2016 - Day Early Leader At THE PLAYERS
05-12-2016 - Spite A Favorite, And Not Just For Golf
05-10-2016 - Fowler Still "Likes the Vibe"
05-10-2016 - Formula To Win THE PLAYERS? None
05-09-2016 - More Players At THE PLAYERS On Monday
05-09-2016 - Furyk Returns Optimistic At PLAYERS
04-30-2016 - Caldwell Takes Jack: "Risk To Be Great"
04-29-2016 - Jaguars' Ramsey: Best Player In The Draft
04-27-2016 - Khan On Draft Day: "Don't Be Impulsive"
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04-16-2016 - Armada Get 1st Win 2-1 vs. Miami FC
04-14-2016 - Rashean Retires As A Jaguar
04-09-2016 - Masters Traditions Like No Other
04-01-2016 - NFL Contributes To HS Player Safety
03-28-2016 - USA Soccer To Play Here September 6
03-26-2016 - When Watching Tony Kornheiser, Buyer Beware
03-24-2016 - Khan Still Moving Forward
03-23-2016 - Dave Caldwell's Jaguars Vision
03-23-2016 - Bradley: Stay to the Plan
03-09-2016 - Mayor Curry To Run Gate River Run
02-27-2016 - "The Hayt" Tests College Players At Sawgrass CC
02-19-2016 - Earnhardt, Kyle Busch win Duels at Daytona
02-18-2016 - Jaguars Re-sign Chad Henne
02-18-2016 - Champions Ride for Safety
02-12-2016 - The Players Military Appreciation Day
02-08-2016 - Hall of Fame Voting: A Process
02-04-2016 - FSU Class Among The Best In The Nation
02-04-2016 - Gators Bolster Offense on Signing Day
01-29-2016 - Stadium Clubs "Reimagined"
01-25-2016 - Remembering Rex Morgan
01-21-2016 - "Krossover" Helping Hs Hoops Teams
01-13-2016 - Cyclists And Motorists Looking For Compromise
01-07-2016 - Jacksonville in the D-League?
01-07-2016 - Smith Fired in Tampa: Jax DC?
01-05-2016 - For Gus' Sake, I Hope He's Right
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01-03-2016 - Jaguars Lose To Texans, Work To Do
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