It feels like Josh Wells has been around forever. Every year I look at the 53-man roster and wonder the Jaguars’ obsession with Wells. When Cam Robinson went down for the season with a torn left ACL, it gave us a good chance to observe why the coaching staff is so high on Wells when the fanbase feels differently.
Don’t look now, but Josh Wells quietly had a good game against the Jets this past week. He wasn’t called for a single penalty, nor do I recall noticing him much during the game. For an offensive lineman, that’s the ultimate compliment.
While his tape wasn’t perfect, as we’ll see shortly, let’s dive into the film and see what exactly Wells did...well.
Play: (Shotgun) B.Bortles pass short middle to D.Westbrook to JAX 49 for 27 yards (M.Claiborne).
Breakdown: Key in on 72 during the play. He has good hips and mirrors the defensive lineman. He stays low and keeps his head up during the rep. This— while a routine 2nd and long play— is exactly what you want to see from your left tackle.
Play: T.J. Yeldon short pass from Blake Bortles for 31 yards. TOUCHDOWN.
Breakdown: Later on the same drive, Wells absolutely dominates his man. This is absolutely imperative— if the offensive line doesn’t give enough time for the crossers and deep routes to develop, the short pass to Yeldon wouldn’t be as effective. Watch how the defensive lineman’s momentum completely halts as Wells gets his hands on the inside shoulder pads of him. It’s clear how much more of a natural left tackle Wells is.
Play: B.Bortles scrambles left end to JAX 48 for 23 yards.
Breakdown: While this play is a reflection of Bortles’ dual-threat ability, notice how Wells uses the momentum of Jordan Jenkins and essentially drives him out of the play. Jenkins has no chance at recovering. This creates a wide open lane for Bortles to step up in and take off. Wells’ play coupled with Fournette drawing Avery Williamson to the sideline creates enough space for the 23-yard gain.
Play: B.Bortles pass short left to J.O’Shaughnessy to NYJ 38 for 17 yards (D.Lee).
Breakdown: While it may seem that Wells had an excellent game, there’s still room for improvement. He still has a tendency to lower his head, much like A.J Cann, and overextend his arms. Notice how Wells initially lunges forward and watch the defender use an easy swim move to get past him. Luckily for us, good Blake showed up on Sunday and was able to extend the play, finding O’Shaughnessy for the first down.
You may not think of it, but Josh Wells is quite the success story after coming in as an undrafted rookie free agent from James Madison University and carving a role for himself in the NFL. Most careers average to about 3 years in the NFL, and Wells is on his 4th season and still young at the age of 27. Last week’s game against the Jets showed exactly what the Jaguars envisioned him becoming and why he was deserving of a roster spot.