Originally posted on The Sports Headquarters  |  Last updated 8/1/12

The Jaguars have a conundrum on their hands as this article is being written with All World RB  Maurice Jones-Drew holding out.  New owner Shahid Khan is holding firm in his stance that he has made all the attempts to get Jones-Drew into training camp, but Jones-Drew keeps rebuking the contract offers.  Without MJD in camp is not a complete back breaker but to have him hold out into the 2012 season would surely have a negative effect on Jacksonville’s fortunes.  The Jags had a putrid offense in 2011 and if QB Blaine Gabbert can’t advance his career a little, I would say that he may end up on the proverbial scrap heap.  The Jags Defense was the saviour that kept the team from being in the running for Andrew Luck.  If Jones-Drew isn’t in the mix this year, the Offensive Line will have to be better than last year.  Members of the projected 2012 Jags Offensive Line are LT Eugene Monroe, LG Will Rackley, C Brad Meester, RG Uche Nwaneri and RT Eben Britton.

Left Tackle Eugene Monroe was selected in the 1st round of the 2009 NFL Draft by Jacksonville.  He was supposed to be the heir apparent to Tony Boselli, but has underachieved.  He started to finally have his “light bulb” moment at least in the run blocking aspect.  He has ideal Left Tackle measurables but needs to use them fully to his own benefit.  He gave up 9.5 sacks in 2011 and must improve that total.


Left Guard Will Rackley was a 3rd round Draft choice of Jacksonville in 2011.  He is a better pass protector than run blocker and should improve in 2012.  He wasn’t supposed to start in 2011 but he ended up starting 14 games.  He was penalized 7 times and gave up 7 sacks but if he can harness his athleticism he will progress nicely.


Center Brad Meester was selected in the 2nd round of the 2000 NFL Draft by the Jaguars.  Last year he set the Franchise record for games played with 177.  He is the most knowledgeable signal caller on the line and is absolutely invaluable in the run game.  He only allowed 2.5 sacks in 2011 and with his explosive lower body can hold off pass rushers.


Right Guard Uche Nwaneri was a 5th round Draft choice of Jacksonville in 2007.  Large and mean, he can take on two defensive players at a time when called upon.  He wasn’t technically sound until the back half of 2010 and has carried that on for over a full season now and is expected to flourish again in 2012.  Only allowed 1.5 sacks in 2011 and will be counted on to not regress.


Right Tackle Eben Britton was a 2nd round Draft pick in the 2009 NFL Draft by Jacksonville.  Britton has had trouble with serious injuries in the last two years (herniated disk and torn labrum).  He performed well in his first two years and will be counted on to play well when he returns in 2012.  He is actually more suited to play Guard so if he struggles Jacksonville may move him inside.  The problem is that they have Guy Whimper as the backup and he was a human turnstile in 2011.


Now to Analyze the Numbers…..


Jacksonville ranked 13th in Total Run Blocking in 2011 allowing MJD and to a lesser extent Deji Karim to run for 4.28 yards per carry which was slightly below the NFL average of 4.31.  The RB’s were stopped at/or behind the line only 17% of their attempts which bettered the NFL average of 19%.  The RB’s achieved first downs on 3rd/4th down runs 64% of their attempts which again was above the NFL average of 62%.  Jacksonville ran the ball 429 times in 2011 which was the third highest total in the league.  The RB’s experienced their least success running behind Guy Whimper who was playing RT last year as they only picked up 2.56 yards per carry which was last in the NFL.  The RB’s experienced much more success running behind massive LT Eugene Monroe to the tune of 5.11 yards per carry which was 3rd best in the league.  I decided to peruse the percentage of runs that went behind the terrible RT position and I notice that Jacksonville only ran behind Whimper 5% of their rushing attempts.  Good thing!  From a Fantasy perspective if MJD is not there, I would spend a late round pick on Rashad Jennings who missed all of last year with a knee injury.  Expect Jennings or MJD to get a ton of work as new OC Bob Bratkowski has an old school, smashmouth, run the ball mentality.  Probably just as well considering the anemic passing game.


The Jaguars ranked 26th in the NFL in Pass Protection allowing Blaine Gabbert to be sacked on 8.9% of his dropbacks which was above the NFL average of 6.7%.  The Offensive Line may have had a few weak spots, but Blaine Gabbert only had a passer rating of 65.4 which was horrendous.  I won’t put all the blame on Gabbert because Jack Del Rio decided to play him before he was NFL ready.  Gabbert was indecisive and ran for his life far too much in 2011.  He also had a problem with ball security and must rectify that issue.  As training camps hit full swing, Gabbert appears as if he is still a developmental project so expect new acquisition Chad Henne to play some this year.  As of the writing of this article the Jags #1 Draft Choice had still not signed his Rookie Contract.  Justin Blackmon should aid in the development of Gabbert as well as new toy Laurent Robinson.  Also Marcedes Lewis should definitely get back to pre-2011 numbers.  Jacksonville still has a weak offensive team and really doesn’t have any Fantasy stars beyond Jones-Drew.


Thanks to www.footballoutsiders.com for the statistics


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