Physical Jags, emerging Bucs and Jets the best of the rest
The Jaguars, Buccaneers and Jets are all on the cusp of having top-10 offensive lines, writes Matt Williamson.
Here's how those teams and the others outside the top 10 fall in line.
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This is a big, physical line that obviously did a great job of opening running lanes for Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew. Jacksonville was second in the league in rushing (behind Minnesota) and averaged 149.4 yards per game. That should continue this season; this is the type of unit that can simply wear down a defense. Jacksonville's offensive line also was quite effective in pass protection, although it is not the most nimble or athletic group. QB David Garrard deserves some credit for getting the ball out quickly, and the Jaguars' effectiveness running the ball often slowed down their opponent's pass rush, but don't discount the job their big uglies did. Even though the Jags parted ways with OG Chris Naeole, there is continuity here, and the Jaguars return the starting unit they used much of last year. Depth is a bit of a concern, and their ability to succeed if they sustain an injury or two is in question. C Brad Meester is a very good player, but the drop-off with him out of the lineup is substantial and he has struggled to stay healthy. The tackle depth is particularly alarming. Still, LG Vince Manuwai is one of the most physical blockers in the league and a name you should know, and LT Khalif Barnes is talented but must avoid off-the-field issues and become more consistent on game day.
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