Steady does it.
That’s the motto of the Jaguars offensive line this season. While it hasn’t always looked pretty, the unit has quietly become the most successful on the football team, leading the way for its rookie QB in Trevor Lawrence, along with a running game that has had success when utilized.
On the year, the Jaguars have allowed just two sacks while facing tough competition in the Houston Texans and Denver Broncos.
Both teams have players that have routinely been a couple of the toughest challenges for offensive lines in the NFL, including Whitney Mercilus (Houston) along with Bradley Chubb and Von Miller, both of which play for Denver.
That sort of production hasn’t gone unnoticed, and Jaguars offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell believes that while the offensive line has done well, it's a “what have you done for me lately,” league.
“I was really happy with the offensive line last week in particular,” Bevell said on Thursday. “Again, with [Bradley] Chubb and Von Miller on the outsides there, I thought we did a really nice job in protection, but it doesn’t stop there.”
The Jaguars are set to kickoff against the Arizona Cardinals in a couple of hours at TIAA Bank Field today. They’ll face an even greater challenge this week in terms of overall production against Chander Jones, Markus Golden and J.J. Watt. The pass rush those players generate will certainly be something to watch moving forward.
Jones has tallied five sacks, while Golden has a sack, with Watt becoming a solid piece in the middle of the Arizona defensive line this year.
“This is as good of a defense as Denver, and maybe better in some of the other areas that they have. We have to do it again. We have to prove it each and every week.”
Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson feels the same way, while the team’s offensive line has looked good, he told Big Cat Country on Thursday that they must build on the success moving forward.
“I think we’ve been playing pretty well,” Robinson said of the team’s offensive line and offense as a whole. “There’s always stuff to improve on, we got a lot of stuff to get better at. But, I think the things that we are doing well, that’s a good sign. And those are some things that we can build off of. Ultimately, we just got so much stuff we can get better at.”
According to Football Outsiders, the Jaguars currently rank fifth-overall at the offensive line with 4.93 adjusted line yards per rush. The team’s power success is at 100%, which grades the percentage of runs on third or fourth down, two yards or less to go, that achieved a first down or a touchdown.
The team ranks first in the NFL in pass protection, having given up just two sacks on the year. Jacksonville has protected its rookie QB, and certainly, he’s also done well in getting the ball out before he is able to be brought down. That combination has typically led to success, and Robinson believes that’s coming for Lawrence.
“We’ve just been doing all we can do to keep them clean,” Robinson said. “And we know if we do that, he’s gonna come out and he’s gonna do what he’s supposed to do. He’s just been getting better every week. I mean, of course, he’s a rookie, there’s going to be growing pains, there’s gonna be things that you can get better at, but he’s been awesome.”
Certainly, Lawrence has looked quite like a rookie over the past two weeks. He’s currently last in the NFL in completion percentage at 50%, but his growth as a passer, in general, is obvious. The young signal-caller has done well at getting the ball out of his hands in a quick manner and has had the ‘wow’ throws you’d want to see in any QB, let alone a rookie.
Today will be another opportunity for Lawrence, the team’s offensive line and the offense as a whole to stack up a good day. While it will be difficult to have success against the rush today, Robinson is confident in his and his fellow linemen’s abilities.
“It’s a great challenge, but I think it’s a challenge that I think we’re up for.”