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The good news was that the Jaguars managed to convert when they were in the red zone. Maurice Jones-Drew finally broke his touchdown slump to tie Fred Taylor's single season touchdown record. It is the first time in weeks the Jaguars got points from all of their red zone trips, even if they only had two of them.
In fact, this is the first time the Jaguars got points out of all of their red zone possessions since playing Kansas City on November 8th. It was bittersweet though, as the Jaguars failed to score the game tying touchdown when it was needed, and had to settle for a FG.
Where are the Jaguars problems in the red zone centered? Obviously ball security is a big part of it with the absurd amount of red zone turnovers the team has committed, but I think the deterioration of the offensive line is another major piece.
Once again we'll look at Pro Football Focus' numbers on the offensive line. Eben Britton has been playing like a man possessed in recent weeks. I know Terry blasted him for missing a critical block in the Miami game, but has been playing far better than he was in the beginning of the season. It will be a joy to have him on the right side for the next decade.
Eugene Monroe on the other hand has been going back to Inconsistent-ville after having a solid middle part of the season It is good to see Monroe has only had one truly bad game since Week 2 (San Francisco), and hopefully the lumps he's taking will serve him well next season. It will be an excellent measuring stick for him this week if Freeney does go for Indy on Thursday.
Uche Nwaneri is the Jags best offensive lineman according to PFF, but he has also struggled recently. Nwaneri has still been the pillar of the offensive line this season, a shock considering he was probably the name everyone forgot to mention in the preseason. This is jar on the shelf working to its finest.
Vince Manuwai played well last week, but that is an outlier in a series of consistently poor play. It is sad to see this from Manuwai, who I thought deserved to inherit Fred Taylor's old title of "Player who's been screwed out of the most Pro Bowls by playing for the Jags." He was the only lineman to have a good game against the Dolphins, so maybe he'll use it as a building block like Britton did a few weeks prior against Buffalo.
While former Mr.Consistent Brad Meester is the 33rd ranked Center, remember there's only 32 teams, according to PFF. I'm just in shock when I look at this graph. There is a reason why Brad Meester has made the second most starts in franchise history, and this isn't it. I expect we'll see a center taken early in April.
What do these numbers tell me? We have three young players who are growing into good players in Monroe, Britton, and Nwaneri. We also have two older players that are showing us why you can't afford to remember yesterday at the expense of tomorrow in Meester and Manuwai.
Red Zone running plays are designed to go up the middle and blow defensive players off the line of scrimmage, the exact thing the Jaguars can't do at the moment. Until that changes, the Jaguars will continue to struggle to run the ball in the red zone.