The Jacksonville Jaguars got surprising news on Monday morning prior to taking the field for training camp, in that veteran offensive lineman Branden Albert had decided to retire from the NFL. It wasn’t only surprising to fans, but according to Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone, it was a surprise to the team as well.
“He came in this morning and told me that he was talking about retirement and really, that’s what transpired,” Marrone told Ryan O’Hallorn of The Florida Times-Union after practice.
When asked, Marrone indicated that the team had no idea that Albert was considering retirement, so it’s unlikely the team planned for it by deciding to keep Cam Robinson at left tackle for right now. Marrone anticipated having a competition for the left tackle position and then figuring out from there.
“My mind goes to the next thing: Okay, we have to get ready for practice,” Marrone told O’Halloran after practice. “It wasn’t something that happened last night and we had time to think about it. I really haven’t put a lot of thought into it.”
The starting left tackle job appears to be rookie second-round pick Cam Robinson’s to lose at this point, though the team is still giving players like Josh Wells reps at the position for the sake of competition and forcing Robinson to earn it. I fully expect Robinson to “earn” the job, but the team is determined to have competition at a few spots to find the best combination of players, so I do believe it’s more than just a token competition, even if we all expect Robinson to win it.
I would like to give Albert some kudos for retiring when he did. Yeah, it’s jarring because it was right at the start of training camp and he participated in some practices, but he clearly felt he just didn’t have it in him anymore and decided to hang it up. He could have played out the string and likely coasted his way on to the opening day roster to get another check, but he knew his time was up and decided to call it quits.
That being said, it appears the Jaguars offensive line for all intents and purposes, is exactly the same as it was last year, just swapping out Kelvin Beachum for a rookie.