As part of the conversation heading into the 2020 NFL Draft next week, many have speculated the team could address the offensive line further. However, due to comments made by the team throughout the process, it appeared they would likely forego that option, until today.
During the team’s pre-draft press conference with the local Jacksonville media today via Zoom, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone was asked specifically what made him bullish in the past regarding the team’s offensive line, and their ability to make a “jump” moving forward next season.
Yesterday, however, Marrone didn’t appear as bullish on the team’s offensive line, breaking down each player who played significant snaps for the team, however concluding that he does feel good about the position group heading into year two with offensive line coach George Warhop.
Marrone said he expects Jaguars right tackle Jawaan Taylor to make a “big increase” after learning a lot last season, while stating A.J. Cann is at right guard, however, Will Richardson is a player the team needs to “just put him in one position”, stating he can play both guard and tackle. Richardson split repetitions with Cann at guard for the majority of last season while filling in at swing tackle as needed.
“There were times where (Richardson) played better than he has in the past, and there were sometimes where he didn’t do as well as he wanted to,” said Marrone. The team’s head coach was very bullish on center Brandon Linder, however, stating he was one of the “top centers in the league” last year, even with a down season.
While he was plenty positive about three positions along the team’s offensive line, he did offer some critiques for the team’s left guard and left tackle position, stating that he believes left guard Andrew Norwell “gets beat up pretty good”, meaning outside spectators have critiqued the sixth-year offensive linemen heavily in the past.
“...there are times when he misses the pass block - his bad plays are bad - and he gets upset with that, but I feel comfortable about that, you know, healthy,” Marrone mentioned of Norwell, “and then Cam (Robinson)’s the one that, you know, didn’t play as well as his first year with us, he was injured and missed a lot of practice time”
Robinson missed the team’s first two games while continuing to recover from a torn anterior cruciate ligament (ACL), suffered early during the 2018 season. He also missed several practices, still recovering from the injury, however toughed it out playing and starting in the team’s remaining 14 games on the year.
Marrone reiterated that he does feel good about the position, but it does not mean the team cannot add competition in that area.
“Does it say that ‘hey, we’re content with that group and those five’? I’m not saying that, I think we can always get better,” said Marrone, “we can always add competition, and we can always add starters you know depending on where these guys are and where we take them. Again, I expect that group to take a big jump with coach Warhop being their coach for the second year.”