Jaguars Report Card - OL

The Jacksonville Jaguars finished their season with a 7-9 record, and depending on who you talk to, 2009 was either a nice surprise or a bitter disappointment. However you look at it, 2009 is over and it's time to reflect on the play at each position and what we can expect going forward. We are are now going to look at the offensive line.

Unlike the other portions of the team in this series, the offensive line does not have any stats. It's a lot harder to grade each individual offensive lineman since you do not know exactly what each lineman's responsibility is on any given play. However, unlike the 2008 season, the Jaguars were fortunate enough to have a healthy offensive line for the better part of the season. There was really only one different starter at the end of the season that what the Jaguars started the season with. Jaguars guard Uche Nwaneri replaced veteran Maurice Williams in Week Four against the Tennessee Titans when Williams suffered an injury, and Nwaneri never went back to the bench, despite playing with a torn meniscus that he suffered at the beginning of training camp.

The Jaguars also started rookie tackles in first-round draft pick Eugene Monroe at left tackle and second-round draft pick Eben Britton at right tackle. Both started nearly ever game and only missed time due to sickness (Monroe) and minor injuries (Britton). Both started off slow, but by the end of the season both looked like they will be cornerstones on the offensive line for many years to come.

The real rough part of the offensive line this season was at the left guard and center position. Guard Vincent Manuwai was coming off a torn ACL at the start of the 2008 season and he struggled for much of the year. Center Brad Meester also struggled mightily. Meester really hasn't been the same since his stellar season in 2007 and has gradually gone down hill since. Meester is renowned for his line calls and knowledge of the game, but physically he doesn't look as if he can be an effective full-time starter anymore. The word coming out of the front office is that Meester may be replaced by guard Uche Nwaneri in the 2010 season and Manuwai may move from the left side to the right side, where his struggles in pass protection can be hidden a bit easier.

Final grade: C+ While the offensive line had it's ups and downs, it improved significantly from the 2008 season, as expected. The line did give up just as many sacks as it did in the 2008 season (42), but it wasn't nearly as brutal as it was in 2008. Not to mention the line produced a Pro Bowl running back in Maurice Jones-Drew. This unit with some minor tweaking should become a very, very good line going on into the future.

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