The Jaguars were without two pivotal players on the interior this past week. Brandon Linder missed the Jaguars' loss to the Packers with a back injury, while Doug Costin was still in the concussion protocol.
Brandon Linder is the team's starting center and best offensive lineman. He's also a captain. On Wednesday morning, head coach Doug Marrone told the media he expects to have Linder back this week as the Jags prepare to take on the undefeated Steelers. Without Linder in the lineup last week, the Jaguars still ran the ball effectively, and his replacement, Tyler Shatley, held up well in pass protection. But the Jaguars' offensive line, and offense as a whole, will need all the help they can get in week 11 against a truly dominant Steelers' front seven. Doug Marrone mentioned that they might be the best he's ever seen (as a coach).
Doug Costin entered the starting lineup for the first time in week nine against the Texans and did not disappoint. He played next to DaVon Hamilton on the interior and was able to create pressure on the quarterback while also holding up against the run. The rookie has now cleared concussion protocol and will be active for the Jaguars this week. With his help, the Jaguars' defensive line might be more impactful as a whole against the Steelers than they were last week against the Packers.
The Jaguars are unlikely to steal one away from the Steelers this week, but with Linder and Costin's help, they might be able to do a decent job on the line of scrimmage.
Also, keep an eye on the status of rookie wide receiver Laviska Shenault Jr. He injured his hamstring in week nine and won't practice on Wednesday. But Doug Marrone said they consider him questionable to play at this point. The value of his presence on the field cannot be overstated.
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