Yesterday, the Jaguars were put in a position that was unseen since the start of the 2019 NFL season. The right guard position would be played by one player, and one player alone — offensive lineman A.J. Cann. Cann played every snap at right guard yesterday for the first time since week one when the team took on the Kansas City Chiefs.
For months, the Jaguars have split the repetitions at right guard between Cann and second-year offensive lineman Will Richardson order to get more production out of the position. Although unorthodox, it has not necessarily been a detriment to the team as of late.
While it seemed as though the competition had been won by Cann yesterday, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone explained the reasoning — in depth — on why Richardson was deemed inactive and a healthy scratch on Sunday. According to Marrone, the Jaguars wanted to get heavier on the defensive side of the football, and were forced to make a decision on who to deactivate as a result.
“Going into the game, we wanted to put emphasis on stopping the run and tried to get (rookie defensive tackle) Dontavius Russell active to see if he can be a factor helping us in the run game,” Marrone said via conference call on Monday. Russell played 49% of the Jaguars’ defensive snaps yesterday and accounted for three combined tackles, including two solo tackles on the day.
Overlooked, the Jaguars were limited at left tackle with Cam Robinson (knee) during the week of practice leading up to the game. Marrone says Robinson’s availability was also a cause for concern depending on how the game played out and whether or not he went down due to injury. During the week, the team platooned Richardson and swing-tackle Cedric Ogbuehi at left tackle to see which one would ultimately get the job.
“What it came down to was — because of that roster spot — platooned Cedric [Ogbuehi] and Will [Richardson] at tackle that week to see who had the best chance of being our swing tackle, and at the end of the week we decided to go with Ced[dric].”
Factoring in both of those situations, Richardson was deemed to be a healthy scratch for the first time this season. This, however, according to Marrone is not going to be commonplace moving forward. Richardson and Cann will ultimately resume split-duty at guard for the foreseeable future unless a situation arises or one does separate themselves.
“It’s not an indication of A.J. [Cann] did something or Will [Richardson] did something better,” said Marrone. “In a perfect world I’d much rather have Will [Richardson] up there we we would keep doing what we we’re doing.”