Pro Football Focus has put out its annual preseason offensive line rankings, and the Jacksonville Jaguars do not rank very highly heading into the 2019 season. The PFF Analysis team list the Jaguars’ unit at No. 21 in the league, in between the Cleveland Browns at No. 20 and the Atlanta Falcons at No. 22.
Here is what Pro Football Focus had to say about Jacksonville in the offensive trenches:
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP:
Left Tackle: Cam Robinson
Left Guard: Andrew Norwell
Center: Brandon Linder
Right Guard: A.J. Cann
Right Tackle: Jawaan Taylor
After left tackle Cam Robinson suffered a season-ending knee injury in Week 2 of the 2018 season, we still don’t really know what the Jags will be getting from the former Alabama big man in 2019. Heading into Year 3 of his career, Robinson has recorded just two single-game grades north of 70.0, while he’s recorded 13 single-game grades of less than 60.0. Andrew Norwell took a slight step back in his first year in Jacksonville, seeing his overall grade dip from 76.3 in 2017 to just 66.7 in 2018. At the right guard spot, A.J. Cann is 4,136 snaps into his professional career, but he’s only graded above 70.0 in one of his four seasons.
I think the criticism is fair, but I expect them to outperform this early ranking. I am already on record saying that if the unit stays healthy, I think it will be solid to good this season. That is a big if, though. While this blurb mentions the season-ending injury to Cam Robinson, it failed to mention how four of the five starters ended the season on injured reserve last season, and even backups spent time out of the lineup. The team started 12 different players on the offensive line in 2018. I mean that information should be taken into account when judging the unit’s potential as a healthy group in 2019.
PFF also mentions how Andrew Norwell, after signing a huge contract, took a step back. But again, injuries took a toll on him, and he has vowed to not let his teammates down again this year. A.J. Cann’s shortcomings were also talked about here, something Jaguars fans are familiar with, but he was also playing banged up and with a makeshift offensive line next to him. The Jaguars liked Cann enough to re-sign him to a three-year, $15 million contract in the offseason. They aren’t paying him $5 million per year to sit on the bench, so he will be back in the starting lineup and looking to improve.
The listed projected starting lineup seems accurate, but Cam Robinson is not expected to start training camp as a full-go, so hopefully he is ready to go by Week 1 against the Kansas City Chiefs. At right tackle, rookie Jawaan Taylor is expected to start right away, but he will be challenged by second-year man Will Richardson (who has also been getting reps at guard during offseason workouts), and veteran Cedric Ogbuehi, who struggled during his time with the Cincinnati Bengals, but who is also looking to rejuvenate his career in Jacksonville. The three interior players are locked in as opening day starters (barring injury).
After leading the league in rushing yards in 2017 with 141.4 yards per game, the offense took a huge step back in 2018, finishing the year ranked No. 19 with 107.7 yards on the ground per game. Some of this could be blamed on poor play from the o-line, some can be attributed to the injuries and some of it could be put on the shoulders of Leonard Fournette, who was in and out of the lineup and really struggled during his sophomore campaign. Whichever way you slice it, it needs to be better this time around.
In terms of pass protection last season, the offensive line was abysmal. The team gave up 53 sacks in 2018, which was tied with the Green Bay Packers for third most in the league. Only the Houston Texans and Dallas Cowboys gave up more. The Jags gave up, on average, 3.3 sacks per game. For comparison, Jacksonville only gave up 1.5 sacks per game in 2017, and were in the top-five for fewest sacks allowed. That number more than doubled last season, and it’s no wonder the Jaguars had such an anemic offense. This must be better in 2019.
So, in conclusion, I expect the offensive line to perform much better than how the injury-riddled 2018 unit did.
For those interested, the Philadelphia Eagles were the No. 1 ranked line in the PFF article.
What do you think? Is this a fair ranking from Pro Football Focus?
The Jaguars’ offensive line ranking of No. 21 is...
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