Sometimes, the simplest words have the biggest impact. Jacksonville Jaguars executive vice president Tom Coughlin said in order for Blake Bortles to have a successful season, the offensive line has to play better.
“In order for the quarterback to produce at the level we want him to produce, it has to be a team effort,” Coughlin said in an interview that appears on Yahoo Sports and other websites.
“The offensive line has to do a better job. He has to be protected better.”
Coughlin wasn’t coy in stating the team as a whole needs to improve in all facets of the game. This was the message he preached once he took the job to return to the team that gave him his first head coaching gig.
That criticism or concern wasn’t void of Bortles, who regressed in 2016 after throwing for 4,400 yards in 2015.
“Where Blake comes in, is he has to protect the football.”
Bortles has thrown 34 interceptions the past two seasons. He also has a penchant for throwing pick-6 interceptions. Conversely, that killed momentum on potential scoring drives in his early career.
The Jacksonville Jaguars traded for left tackle Brandon Albert from the Miami Dolphins before the start of NFL free agency. The team also lost former first-round draft pick Luke Joeckel, who signed with the Seattle Seahawks. For this reason, Albert and Jermey Parnell figure to start the season at both tackle spots. The line will also include Brandon Linder at center, AJ Cann at right guard and possible Patrick Omameh, at left guard. The team also re-signed Tyler Shatley and Josh Wells to provide depth.
Jacksonville added Earl Watford from Detroit in the offseason to play both guard and tackle. The team was believed to be in the running for both guards Larry Warford and Kevin Zeitler in free agency. However, both signed elsewhere.
The Jacksonville Jaguars may not take a different approach to their offensive line in 2017. Since their former line coach, Doug Marrone, will run the show as the new head coach. Last season under Marrone, the Jaguars offensive line surrendered 34 sacks, which was a noticeable difference from 51 the previous year.