A video was recently released on the Myjags365.com site, which is officially run by the Jaguars organization. In this 3 minute clip, Tom Coughlin and Doug Marrone hype up the new era of football in town. What stood out in my mind was the strong emphasis that Coughlin placed on Marrone’s history working with the Offensive Line. Coughlin states, “If you have- I’ve always believed this- if you’re strong on the offensive line and strong on the Defensive Line, You will compete. It starts up front.” Skipping down a bit, he brings up Marrone’s history, “ [Marrone’s] background- he’s an offensive linemen, he’s an offensive line coach. People have to really wrap their heads around what that means. It means that fundamentally, his approach is exactly the way the game was meant to be played.”
I believe we can draw a few points from this message. Let’s look first back to the hiring of Doug Marrone, which was widely criticized. We learned in the time around the announcement that Coughlin did in fact have input on the hire, and I believe that this video showcases Coughlin’s thought process around that time. He liked that Marrone had experience working with the O-Line, and this emphasis on “in the trenches” O-Line vs. D-Line warfare has been a staple under Coughlin run teams for years, so the fact that Marrone appealed to that side of Coughlin certainly raised his stock.
I am very excited that Offensive Line appears to be a priority for the team this offseason. Say what you will about Doug Marrone, but I’m sure that he knows our unit as well as anyone and subsequently knows which spots could use a boost in free agency or the draft. For example, I would expect Marrone to have a huge say in the decision of whether or not to resign Joeckel. The O-Line did decrease sack total in a big way from 2015, but it still has a lot of blemishes. Center Brandon Linder is the unquestioned star, so I would not be surprised to see the team pursue a Guard or Tackle, although Linder could always transition back to Guard should the need arise.
I do believe that an improved O-Line could go a long way towards repairing the offense. Our run game was far from dynamic last year, but there are some legitimate reasons why. Injuries brutalized the run game, with Luke Bowanko, Patrick Omameh, and Luke Joeckel all being sent to Injured Reserve, and it didn’t help that Ivory and Yeldon both battled their own injuries.
I would not be surprised if, by next season, at least one starter on the O-Line is new. Who knows, this larger focus on “trenches football” may even imply the possibility of drafting a RB at 4, which is more possible than you may believe.
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