Line Dancing Jaguars
Now play me (Getty Images)
Now play me (Getty Images)
Contributor
Posted Nov 4, 2009
Alfie Crow


Just before Sunday's game, we learned Tra Thomas was going to be the Jaguars starting left tackle over rookie Eugene Monroe. The rest of the offensive line also learned Monroe was not starting right before the game. This is an issue that's plagued Jacksonville throughout the season, musical chairs on the offensive line.

The offensive line is one of the few spots on a football team where it is very difficult to plug and play. The Jaguars have had multitudes of starting lineups on the offensive line this season, and we're now seeing the results. The offensive line is a spot on a football team that needs chemistry and continuity. Players learn the tendancies of the players around them and often play off of it. You learn if the guy next to you struggles with an inside spin move, so it will become second nature to give him an assist when it happens. It will get to a point to where you don't need to think about it, you just do it. When players are constantly shuffled in and out of the starting line up for no apparent reason, you're going disrupt this flow and it often leads to negative results.

"How can you get continuity?" Jaguars star running back Maurice Jones-Drew asked following the Jaguars blowout loss at Seattle. "How can you get chemistry going on when guys are rotating in and out? The running game and the passing game is like ballroom dancing. You have to be able to move one way or the other at the same time or you’re going to step on her toes or she’s going to step on yours"

Jones-Drew's comments still ring true, and it seems as if the coaching staff hasn't learned from the apparent mistake. While Tra Thomas had a good game against Tennessee the first go around, he struggled from time to time on Sunday just like he did when he started in Seattle the week following the first Tennessee game.

It's needless to mention how the constant starting and sitting of rookie Eugene Monroe is going to stifle his growth. The offensive line is a position you have to learn by playing it, not by watching on the sideline. You have to experience pass rush moves to learn how to block them. Not only is flopping of the left tackle position nearly every other game disrupting the chemistry on the line and Eugene Monroe's development, it also seems to be upsetting the other offensive lineman.

"Coaches make the decisions," starting guard Uche Nwaneri said. "I can’t speak for any reasons as to why Eugene didn’t start and Tra did. There were times we felt like we gave him (David Garrard) a lot of time and had good protection. I felt like everybody played hard, and gave what they had.”

It's pretty clear if you read between the lines, players don't understand what's going on either. For better cohesiveness of the line and the team in general, Jack Del Rio needs to pick five offensive lineman and stick with the five offensive lineman.



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