Jaguars rookie right tackle Jawaan Taylor played the best game of his career on Sunday against the Oakland Raiders.
With zero penalties and only two pressures given up according to Pro Football Focus, it was easily the rookie’s best game of the season.
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone agrees it was Taylor’s best showing of the season. “It was a clean game,” Marrone said via conference call on Monday. “The penalties have been a big thing for him. We’ve been talking about him there, and just some of the things technique wise, using your hands and being able to throw them. I would say that if you look at the season, this has been his best game.”
While penalties have been a concern, the sky’s the limit for for Taylor, a second-round pick out of Florida.
“Like I’ve always said, I really believe he’s a good player now. I think he has the ability to be a really good football player and play a long time in this league. But the one thing you have to do is you have to keep progressing and taking advantage of these opportunities of these next two weeks of practice and these next two games to continue on that path.”
Taylor has taken advantage of the opportunities he’s been given. Thus far this season he’s gone against several premier pass rushers including, Frank Clark, J.J. Watt, Harold Landry, Von Miller, Cameron Jordan, and Joey Bosa. A gauntlet of pass rushers that can speed the development of a pass protector rather quickly.
At such a young age, that much work can get overwhelming, but Taylor says the pressure is being alleviated each and every week.
“You get a lot of pressure, [but] at the end of the day you’re playing ... the best of the best — the highest level,” Taylor told Big Cat Country on Wednesday. “I came in, my first five, six games were all straight Pro Bowlers. Going against big time players like that at a young age, and being such a young guy, I learned a lot. It was a great experience.”
Taylor’s offensive coordinator, John DeFilippo had nothing but praise to say about his rookie’s performance thus far this season, especially after his game at Oakland.
“I think Jawaan is going to have a really, really nice career in this league at right tackle for a long time,” DeFilippo said on Thursday. “He just has those traits of linemen I’ve been around that have had nice careers in this league, eight, 10, 12 years in this league.”
DeFilippo made note of Taylor’s serious attitude to do his job, going out each and everyday to work on specific areas of his game — such as his hand placement that was taught at the University of Florida.
“I’m not saying it was good, not saying it was bad, what was being taught at Florida but we wanted to get his hands a little higher and he’s bought in. Any time you’re serious about your job, take coaching and you’re tough, usually you have a nice career in this league.”
According to Taylor, he graded out at a ‘92%’ for his game against the Raiders — his best of grade of the season. The Jaguars’ coaches combine all plays and grade their offensive linemen by their technique, production, finish on the day.
“I’ve been grinding, learning a lot just getting experience, getting better that’s all I’m trying to do,” Taylor reflected. “Technique wise was a lot better. Just consistency and everything I did was a lot better.”
While hand placement was a major point of emphasis for Taylor, moving forward, Taylor wants to be “the best”, so nothing is off the table.
“I can work on everything,” said Taylor. “I’m always open to coaching. Like you said hands, angles, pass sets, just changing up different pass sets. Different things like that. Run blocking, different steps in my run blocking, landmarks, I can definitely work on that.”
From college to the pros, the pass rush moves he sees game-in-and-game-out have not been surprising due to film, but they have a lot more “meat”, are a lot more detailed and technical, Taylor said.
Learning from his teammates have made him a better player this season. Next to him, right guard A.J. Cann and on the other side is second-year player Cam Robinson. He has learned from them making him a better student of the game.
“Those vets take care of me, make sure I’m ready to go every single week. Make sure I’m on the same page as them. All of them make me a better pro, better note-taker, better in the film room, everything the whole aspect of the game and I appreciate all of them.”