The Jacksonville Jaguars made a commitment to upgrade their running game this offseason to bring some balance to the offense and help take some pressure off quarterback Blake Bortles. The team decided to upgrade the runningback position with the signing of free agent Chris Ivory to pair with T.J. Yeldon, but that wasn't the only thing the team did to upgrade the run game.
"We are doing some things up front that are good, but I think we have changed some of the run schemes that we're doing. I think the communication that is taking place up front. We talk about, they really have to work well as a unit and communicate well," Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said on Tuesday when asked about what all has changed in the run game.
As mentioned the team did bring in a new talented running back in Ivory but they also changed up some of the blocking schemes they're using. It's probably a bit of a surprise that the offensive line is working well as a unit in the run game because it's been shuffled all throughout training camp, but a big reason why it's been so organized is the transition of Brandon Linder from right guard to center, because he's done an excellent job with his communication and calls on the offensive line.
"I think Linder is really on it, really on it. I think it starts right there and it spreads throughout," Bradley added. "You can see it just their technique, give credit to Doug [Marrone] and John [Benton], and they have been really tough on them and the techniques. The guys have bought into it. When you have some success, it kind of carries it through. The guys are kind of really starting to believe in it."
At the beginning of training camp the offensive line was one of the biggest concerns for most Jacksonville Jaguars fans, especially during training camp with all the Vines of Dante Fowler, Jr. etc. making guys look silly, but as the preseason has gone, that concern has seemed to wain. Blake Bortles
hasn't been sacked yet has only been sacked once and the majority of the hits he's taken have been self inflicted by running out of the pocket. But more importantly, the team has been able to run the ball effectively with the first team unit which has lead to the offense scoring on four out of it's five preseason drives with the first team and the only time they didn't, they started backed up in their own half with a 1st and 21.
I'm not going to propose the offensive line isn't an issue, but it's moved to the back of a lot of people's minds in just two weeks, especially in the run game.