The Jacksonville Jaguars lost their pre-season opener to the Miami Dolphins, sort of. The Jaguars…
Jaguars Inside Slant 08/13/07
The first two weeks of the Jaguars training camp found the offensive unit stressing the importance of keeping Leftwich healthy this year. Basically that means keeping opposing linemen away from him. To allow three sacks in the team's first four series coupled by a holding call on tackle Khalif Barnes and a false-start call on Pashos is an indication there is still work to be done by the line.
"We were overanxious a little and had a few technique errors here and there," said Barnes in an attempt to justify the line's shaky play. "It's been a while since we came out and hit someone else. There was a lot of anxiety."
Leftwich defended his protectors, referring to the sacks as "some missed assignments up front," and added, "We'll be OK."
The Jaguars were playing their first game without center Brad Meester since the 2005 season, when he missed the final four games of the year with a torn biceps tendon. Meester suffered a broken bone in his ankle the first week of training camp and isn't expected back until October.
Dennis Norman has stepped in at the center spot to replace Meester and other than allowing one quarterback pressure, appeared to play well in the Miami game. His move into the starting unit, however, voids the team of its best backup player at any of the five positions. Norman has filled in at the guard and tackle positions as well as replacing Meester for the four games in 2005.
Expectations were high this year that backup tackle Richard Collier would be ready to make a push for playing time. But the second-year pro reported to camp at 350 pounds, higher than coaches would like him to be, and that's hindered his development. Maurice Williams, who has started every regular-season game at right tackle the past four seasons until Pashos' arrival, is now a backup at either tackle spot.
There is a significant dropoff at the guard spots, however. Should either Manuwai or the other starter, Chris Naeole, be sidelined, third-year veteran Dan Connolly would be brought in. Connolly is another backup who the coaches are high on but who has not distinguished himself in the first two weeks of training camp this year.
The bottom line is, the Jaguars are down to only Williams as having adequate depth along the offensive front. Without a strong push by anyone for a starting spot, the Jaguars offensive front is pretty well set until Meester's return in a couple of months. Until then, this unit will need to perform better than it did in the opener if the Jaguars are to fulfill their goal of keeping Leftwich in the starting lineup for the entire 16-game season.
JagsInsider.com Recommended Stories
Odell Beckham makes catch of the year
Former LSU wide receiver Odell Beckham made what has to be the most incredible catch of the NFL season. Check out the highlight reel grab!Read More
OU's Perine rushes into record books
Norman has seen a lot of special days, but few will compare to what Samaje Perine did Saturday in rushing for 427 yards and five touchdowns.Read More
College Week 13: 10 Saturday Takeaways
Breaking down all the battles that mattered this weekend.Read More
5 NHL Teams with Tailgating Crazy Fans
When it comes to tailgating, football might be the first sport that comes to mind, but don’t underestimate hockey. The NHL has some of the most passionate fans in all of sports, and they don’t let up…Read More
Apache Administers Death to Taliban (VIDEO)
The Apache helicopter is one of the most famed and efficient killing machines in the U.S Army. Get the skinny on this 'steel dragon' and watch what one does to a platoon of Taliban fighters in…Read More