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Brewster: Ready, waiting, working

Posted Jul 10, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars OL Mike Brewster learning from veteran Brad Meester as he works for opportunity

JACKSONVILLE – Mike Brewster doesn’t know exactly his immediate future.

And that’s OK for Brewster, because the second-year veteran offensive lineman said his focus come late July and August – when the Jaguars open training camp – will be the same as his focus throughout the offseason.

He wants to be as prepared as possible, to know as much as possible...

That has meant playing some left guard, some center, and even some right guard – a situation that could continue in training camp. If so, Brewster said he’s fine with that.

“I’m just trying to learn the system, and learn all the calls,” Brewster said during the Jaguars’ offseason program. “I’ve just been trying to get comfortable with the new system. Obviously, the more I’m able to practice, the more comfortable I’m going to get with it.”

Just where Brewster fits in that system could shake out during Jaguars Training Camp 2013, which is scheduled to begin two weeks from Friday. Players report to EverBank Field July 25, with practices scheduled to begin the following day.

When they do, Head Coach Gus Bradley has promised an atmosphere of competition.

That makes sense to Brewster, who last offseason competed his way onto a roster after being signed as one of the top undrafted players in the 2012 NFL rookie class.

A center from Ohio State, Brewster not only made the roster last season, he played in the first 11 games, starting six at left guard, before sustaining a broken hand in a Week 13 loss to the Bills. He was placed on injured reserve two days later, ending his season.

“The positive was I got some good stuff on film last year,” Brewster said. “Experience is something you have to get on the field. Practice is one thing; games are another.”

Brewster participated fully in the Jaguars’ recent offseason program, and during the day of minicamp open to the public – the final day of the 2013 offseason for veterans – he worked as a reserve, with Will Rackley starting at left guard, Brad Meester at center and Uche Nwaneri at right guard.

MIKE BREWSTER PHOTO GALLERY

Along with Eugene Monroe at left tackle and rookie Luke Joeckel at right tackle, that’s the lineup many  have penciled in for the Jaguars’ offensive line, but Brewster said depth charts and starting roles weren’t foremost on his mind in the offseason.

“I just want to compete, and help out where I can,” Brewster said. “That’s just how I’ve always been, and I’ve just always found a way to make it work. If anything, I just have a confidence going into this season knowing I can play at this level.

“I’m really looking to take that next step when I have the opportunity.”

One thing in the way of that opportunity: the presence of Brewster’s friend, Brad Meester, who has become something of a role model for Brewster recently. Brewster’s ideal position is center. It’s where he made All-America at Ohio State as a junior, and where he figures eventually to best fit in the NFL.

The task of playing there immediately became significantly more difficult this past offseason when Meester decided to return for a 14th season.

“He’s immortal,” Brewster said of Meester, with a laugh.

But Brewster said Meester also is something else: a model of how to approach the position and the NFL for the short- and long-term – and an invaluable resource for a young player.

“I see a lot of myself in him as far as work ethic, and the type of guy he is,” Brewster said. “He brings himself to compete every day. He has been so good and taught me so much. It’s great to have him here. It’s amazing to see a guy play that long.”

Meester’s presence doesn’t mean Brewster won’t keep working at center, and it won’t mean he won’t compete come training camp. He said his technique has improved since last offseason, and said working last season with then-offensive line coach Andy Heck and assistant line coach Ron Prince helped in that area.

“I’ve always had good feet,” he said. “It was more working my hands. I know so much more than I did last year. I’m so much further ahead. I’m more confident, and obviously I’m more mature.”

In the long-term Brewster also has a chance to be a fit in the Jaguars’ zone-blocking approach under offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch and offensive line coach George Yarno. Athleticism and quickness, which Brewster said are his strengths, key his approach. Brewster said while he plans to stay around 295 or 300 pounds, he’s bigger, stronger and in better shape than last season.

“I feel very comfortable going into the season knowing if I have to play guard I’ll feel confident in myself,” Brewster said. “Obviously, center is something I’ve been doing for a long time. I think that confidence will do me some good. I just want to find a way to help out.

“Center is one of those spots where a good center can play for a long time because they’re hard to find,” he said. Sometimes, you have to work for it, in the interim, and, and wait for a guy to move on. Brad is invaluable to me. He teaches me so much. He’s the kind of pro you want to learn from.

“You just have to take it all in. I’ll be ready for when my opportunity comes, whatever they want my role to be.”

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