While the quarterback position is naturally going to be the most discussed, the Jacksonville Jaguars do have other issues on their football team. Two of the major issues on the offense work hand-in-hand, the offensive line and the run game. So far through the preseason the run game, outside of late in the games, has left a lot to be desired.
Last Thursday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Jaguars offensive line got pushed around and simply could not run the football. This upcoming Thursday, the team faces off the Carolina Panthers who also have a talented defensive line, which will be another test for the run game.
“It’s going to be a great challenge because I view Carolina, always have viewed Carolina, in being in that division years ago and having played against them when I was in Buffalo, I think they’re a very, very good football team,” Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said on Tuesday about the run game. “Ron (Rivera) has done a great job with them. They’re a veteran football team, very physical, very smart, so I think it’s going to be a great challenge, for us from a standpoint of up-front on both sides of the ball.”
The interior of the offensive line for the Jaguars is still a little bit of a mess, with it appearing that Patrick Omameh may not have the left guard spot locked down and Luke Bowanko potentially getting a shot. Whoever it is will have their hands full with Carolina’s interior defensive line, though.
“It’s difficult to make plays against their defense. They have some really good football players there. They’re really stout up front. I think it’s going to be a great test for our players a great challenge for them,” Marrone added.
There are a handful of things to watch for Thursday’s game, especially the quarterback position, but the run game will be one to really focus on. Sure, Leonard Fournette is not going to play once again, but the team needs to show an ability to run the ball without Fournette out there. If there aren’t running lanes for the other guys, there won’t be for Fournette, either.