The Jacksonville Jaguars will start Jacques McClendon at center against the Detroit Lions on Friday, as the team continues to try to figure out who will start on the interior of the offensive line. The competition has mostly been between Michael Brewster and McClendon, but with Brewster not holding down the starting job the past two preseason games, McClendon gets his shot with the first team.
"I just think he’s been playing pretty consistent," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley told reporters on Tuesday after practice. "We’ve challenged him to play at another level that he’s capable of playing, so we wanted to take a look at him in practice."
McClendon struggled at right guard in the first two games, but he played well when he shifted to the center position. It appears that both McClendon and Brewster are center-only type players for the Jaguars, which in all likelihood means that the one who isn't starting isn't on the roster.
Brewster is more of a "cerebral" center with some athleticism, but lacks raw power. On the other end of the spectrum McClendon is limited athletically, but has good short area power. The classic "in a phone booth" type of interior offensive lineman, which coincidentally might benefit McClendon because of the division the Jaguars play in.
In the AFC South, three of the four teams play a three man front on defense. That means that for at least six games out of the season, the starting offensive center will likely be going head-up against a nose tackle. Brewster has struggled with that, because he's simply not a power player.
In my mind, there is a roster spot on the line come Friday and it will be interesting to see just how McClendon performs.