JagNation Training Camp Preview: O-Line

Although the Jaguars certainly had an up and down season in 2006, one of the reliable constants on the team was the play of the offensive line. With Andy Heck promoted to offensive line coach before the '06 season, and the addition of former Minnesota Vikings head coach Mike Tice, the offensive line infused some new schemes and it made for great results. Read the O-Line preview HERE:

Heck took a group that finished 15th in total offense in 2005,with the great Jimmy Smith and their starting quarterback for most of the year, and finished 10th in 2006, including the #3 overall rushing offense. They posted these results despite missing their starting quarterback for ten games and no real deep threat at wide receiver. The Jaguars starting offensive line will likely be made up of Khalif Barnes, Chris Naeole, Brad Meester, Vince Manuwai, and Tony Pashos in '07, and they expect to play a physical style of football that would make any old-school coach and football fanatic proud.


Khalif Barnes
Khalif Barnes plays the most important position on the offensive line, left tackle. Barnes is entering his third season from the University of Washington, and he has been the starter ever since his rookie season.

Strengths:
Barnes moves his feet well, and has a nasty streak. The offensive line saw enormous improvement the moment Barnes was inserted in the lineup in his rookie season.

Weaknesses:
Barnes can occasionally be bull rushed by some of the league's larger defensive ends. Barnes had an off the field incident last season which resulted in an arrest and one-game suspension. There's no reason to believe that this incident is any kind of trend and should be chalked up to one night of poor decisions.

Best case/Worst case scenarios:
Barnes' best case scenario is that he continues to get better at left tackle, and could garner some Pro Bowl consideration in '07. Worst case scenario is that Barnes suffers some kind of injury in camp, and is replaced by either backup Mo Williams, or Dennis Norman.


Vince Manuwai
Vince Manuwai is a powerful run-blocking left guard. Manuwai has spent his entire four year career with the Jaguars, and received a contract extension before this season.

Strengths:
Vince Manuwai is a punishing run-blocker, and paved the way for Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew's fantastic '06 seasons.

Weaknesses:
If Manuwai has a weakness, it is in pass-blocking. Manuwai sometimes stuggles with blitz pickup.

Best case/Worst case scenarios:
Vince Manuwai will likely play at the high level that he has played at in the last few seasons, and will pave the way for another strong Jaguars rushing attack. Worst case scenario would include some sort of injury that sidelines Manuwai, and he would have to watch his very capable backups fill in.


Brad Meester
Brad Meester is the center and captain of the offensive line. Meester's job was on the line during the '06 training camp, due to him missing the final five games of the '05 season with injury, but Meester beat out backup Dennis Norman, and had a fine season.

Strengths:
Meester is as good as anyone at calling out protections, and is very good at snapping the ball despite playing with different quarterbacks.

Weaknesses:
Meester can sometimes get manhandled by some of the larger defensive tackles or nose guards.

Best case/Worst case scenarios:
Meester has another fantastic season and gets some Pro Bowl mentioning. Worst case scenario is that Meester gets injured and doesn't win his starting job back from the Jaguars very capable backups.


Chris Naeole
Chris Naeole is probably the best offensive lineman on the team. Naeole was the definition of a mauler in '06, and should have made a trip back home to Hawaii for the Pro Bowl.

Strengths:
Naeole does everything well on the O-line, whether it be run-blocking or pass protection.

Weaknesses:
Naeole is on the wrong side of 30, and has bickered about his contract.

Best case/Worst case scenarios:
Naeole plays as well as he did in '06, and finally gets that so deserved trip to Hawaii. Worst case scenario is that Naeole's age finally begins to show and the team replaces him mid-season.


Tony Pashos
Tony Pashos was the Jaguars biggest free agent expenditure in this off-season, and he was brought here to firm up the pass protection on the right side of the line. Pashos is an enormous right tackle, at 6'6", 320, and is as hard of a worker as anyone.

Strengths:
Attitude, work ethic, size, pass-protection

Weaknesses:
Speed, athleticism

Best case/Worst case scenarios:
Pashos lives up to all of the hype, and the Jaguars get even better on the offensive line. Worst case scenario is that Pashos isn't worth the money, and he isn't the upgrade he was brought in to be.


Maurice Williams
Mo Williams has been with the Jaguars since his rookie year of 2001, and has been the starting right tackle since his rookie year. Thus far, Williams is handling his demotion like a professional, and he will have to battle Khalif Barnes for playing time over at left tackle, assuming there are no other injuries on the line.

Strengths:
Mo Williams is a solid run-blocker, and is one of the leagues better linemen when healthy.

Weaknesses:
Mo Williams pass blocking has suffered in the last few seasons, and thus caused to Jaguars to find his replacement. Williams has a salary cap number of over $4.4 million for this season.

Best case/Worst case scenarios:
Williams best case scenario is that he outplays Khalif Barnes and wins the left tackle job. Worst case scenario is that he doesn't win the job and the Jaguars release him before the season.


Dennis Norman
Dennis Norman's stats look very unimpressive, as do most offensive linemen. Norman has started just five games with the Jaguars in his three seasons, but anyone who watches Norman work knows that he's much more than a journeyman lineman. Dennis Norman is one of the only players in the NFL that can play all five positions on the line.

Strengths:
Norman does everything well, and is maybe the most versatile lineman in the league. Norman has good footwork and strength, and he is very cerebral. Norman makes everyone on the line better with the level of competition he brings.

Weaknesses:
Although Norman does everything well, he isn't great at any one particular area, which has kept him as a backup for his career.

Best case/Worst case scenarios:
Norman's best case scenario is that he beats out either Meester, Manuwai, or Barnes for a starting job. The worst case scenario is that he doesn't, and he stays as the Jaguars backup extrodinaire, on the offensive line.


Stockar McDougle
Stockar McDougle is entering his ninth season as a pro, second season with the Jaguars. McDougle is mostly a backup who can play right tackle or guard, and is a special teams contributor.

Strengths:
Jack of all trades, McDougle is a valuable fill in on the line, and on special teams.

Weaknesses:
McDougle doesn't have the ability to be a starter in the NFL, so any extended playing time for McDougle can mean trouble for the quarterback.

Best case/Worst case scenarios:
Best case scenario is McDougle plays solid in camp and preseason, and holds on to a roster spot. Worst case scenario is that McDougle gets beat out by the Jaguars younger players, and doesn't have a job after August.


Dan Connelly
Dan Connelly is a backup center who made the Jaguars as an undrafted rookie in '05. Connelly played in four games during the '05 season, all on special teams.

Strengths:
Connelly is one of the strongest players on the roster.

Weaknesses:
Experience mainly, Connelly missed all of 2006 with an arm injury.

Best case/Worst case scenarios:
Connelly's best case scenario is that he is impressive in camp and finds a roster spot. Worst case scenario is that the younger guys out-play him, and he is looking for another line of work.


Richard Collier
Richard Collier is an enormous tackle that made the Jaguars roster as an undrafted free agent rookie in '06. Collier has nice feet and good strength.

Strengths:
Big, athletic. Collier looked fantastic last season in the preseason, and the team couldn't leave him off the final roster in fear that he would likely get picked up by some other team.

Weaknesses:
Raw, inexperienced. Collier didn't play at all on the offensive line in '06, so no one really knows how well he can play against top of the line defensive ends.

Best case/Worst case scenarios:
If Collier can continue to impress, he will likely be the first backup to either Barnes or Pashos at either tackle position. Worst case scenario is that Collier doesn't play that well and doesn't make the final roster.


Uche Nwaneri
Uche Nwaneri is a backup guard who was drafted in the fifth round from Purdue. Nwaneri is a little raw and will be groomed to learn as a backup in the early part of his career.

Strengths:
Big, strong, flexible, plays best in small spaces

Weaknesses:
Slow against spin moves, doesn't open his hips properly.

Best case/Worst case scenarios:
If Uche plays well in camp and preseason, he should make the Jaguars final 53 man roster or at the very least be invited to the practice squad. In a worst case scenario, Uche is too slow to play at this level, but will still likely be invited to the practice squad.


Andrew Carnahan
Andrew Carnahan is a hard-working tackle from Arizona State University, that played under Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. Carnahan is slim and gets the most out of his athletic abilities.

Strengths:
Good initial quickness, tough, hard-worker

Weaknesses:
Carnahan is coming off an ACL injury and may not be able to contribute in '07. Also has very limited athletic ability and strength.

Best case/Worst case scenarios:
Carnahan is a likely candidate for the practice squad, being that he probably won't be able to contribute much. Carnahan's worst case scenario is that the team gives up on him if he's not ready to go.


Dan Parrish
Dan Parrish is a big, offensive tackle from small school Florida A & M. Parrish stands 6'7", 340, and was an all conference selection as a senior.

Strengths:
Size, power, and strength

Weaknesses:
Raw, poor balance and body control.

Best case/Worst case scenarios:
If Parrish plays well, he can make the Jaguars practice squad and earn a solid living as he's learning how to play the game. Worst case scenario is that Parrish flops, and gets cut and not invited back for next year.


Samuel Gutekunst
Samuel Gutekunst is the Jaguars first and to this point only player in '07 from the NFL International Development Practice Squad Program. Gutekunst is German, and played in the now defunct NFL Europa this spring, before spending '06 in the NFL International Development Program with the Baltimore Ravens.

Strengths:
Good size, athletic, intelligent.

Weaknesses:
Experience, flexibility.

Best case/worst case scenarios:
Gutekunst is guaranteed a spot on the International Development Practice Squad, that is likely where he'll spend the '07 season. Worst case scenario is that his career ends on that squad.


The Jaguars offensive line played very well in '06, and figures to be much better in '07, due to the addition of Tony Pashos and the solid competition all the way throughout the roster. It is uncertain whether or not the team will keep Mo Williams if there aren't any injuries, considering his large cap number. If the Jaguars do face some injuries on the line, they should still be able to perform at a high level, due to the quality depth of Norman, Connelly, McDougle, and Collier.



Charlie Bernstein is the Editor-in-Chief of Jagnation.com, and a regular syndicated contributor to various national news outlets. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers Association.

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