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The next day: Offensive line seeks improvement

Posted Aug 9, 2014

Jaguars LT Luke Joeckel on preseason opener against Tampa Bay: “We wanted … to get something going. It felt like we just shot ourselves in the foot.”


JACKSONVILLE – This wasn’t the start they wanted.

That was true enough for the Jaguars’ offensive line Friday that the group lobbied successfully for an extra series to start the second quarter of the preseason opener.

It remained true Saturday morning, with members of the Jaguars’ offensive line telling reporters the day after the Jaguars’ 16-10 preseason-opening victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at EverBank Field that their performance must improve.

Yes, they said, it takes time for an offensive line to jell. But they also said the jelling needs to start happening.

“We’ll clean it up,” third-year center Mike Brewster said Saturday. “We’re looking forward to getting back out there against Chicago. I haven’t heard one person say they felt like they played good (yesterday), so that’s good to hear.

“We have really, really high standards.”

Brewster is one of several new starters on the offensive line, with right tackle Austin Pasztor the only player starting where he started full-time last season. Left guard Zane Beadles signed as an unrestricted free agent from Denver in the offseason, and left tackle Luke Joeckel started five games – one at left tackle – before missing the final 11 games with an ankle injury.

Brewster and starting right guard Jacques McClendon each got time at center Friday, with rookie Brandon Linder getting extensive time at right guard.

The Jaguars, who entered the game wanting to establish the run, rushed for 12 yards on eight carries in the first four series. The team rushed five times for five yards on the first three series, after which members of the offensive line asked to play one more series.

“We wanted to do something to get in a rhythm a little bit,” Joeckel said. “We felt like we didn’t get out there and do what we wanted to do. We’re all competitive guys and we wanted to get out there and get something going. It felt like we just shot ourselves in the foot.”

Brewster, who had two errant snaps that led to losses, said the line felt it has had a good training camp. He said the group also felt it made progress during the team’s scrimmage at EverBank the previous Saturday, adding of asking for the extra series, “We just felt like we weren’t hitting it yet. We hadn’t hit our groove. We wanted an extra one.”

“It was our first time out all together going real,” he said. “We’re going to get better. We all hold ourselves to a high standard. You want to see that improvement on Thursday against Chicago.”

Also around the Jaguars Saturday:

*Kicker Josh Scobee called kicking 33-yard extra points Friday odd and said it was indeed a different feeling than a normal kick. “It’s more of a mental thing than anything, because you know you’re supposed to make it,” Scobee said a day after hitting one extra point from the new distance. “It’s a 33-yard field goal and you know you’re supposed to make them 99 percent of the time, so it is different whenever you know it’s only for one point. I think it’s just about getting past it mentally.” The NFL is experimenting with longer point-after-touchdown attempts, starting the play from the 15-yard line in the first two weeks of the preseason. The idea is to add more drama to the play, but Scobee said he doesn’t think the league will implement longer attempts on a permanent basis. “I’m convinced they’re not,” Scobee said. “I think if enough coaches vote the way I hope they do they’ll keep it the way it is. It changes the dynamics of games too much. I hope they keep it the way it is.” …

*Wide receiver Cecil Shorts III said he remains ahead of schedule returning from a hamstring injury that kept him out of the preseason opener, though he’s uncertain of his status for Preseason Week 2 Thursday at Chicago. Shorts, out since early in training camp, ran routes last week and said he will sprint and run routes Sunday. “We’re getting pretty close,” Shorts said, adding that playing in Weeks 3 and 4 of preseason should be enough to be ready for the regular-season opener. …

*Running back Toby Gerhart said he hopes to play against Chicago after missing Friday’s preseason opener with a hip flexor injury. The unrestricted free-agent signee ran Saturday with strength and conditioning coach Tom Myslinski and said he had no issues. “I’m feeling pretty good,” Gerhart said. “I don’t know what the process is to return to the field, but each and every day I’ve felt better.” …

*Cornerback Alan Ball said his absence Friday was precautionary as he continues to return from the ankle injury that had him on the Physically Unable to Perform list to start training camp. Ball, a starter in 15 games last season, came off PUP last Monday, but the team opted to not play him against Tampa Bay.

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