Jaguars' OL struggling as much as quarterbacks

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars offensive line hasn’t played well in back-to-back preseason games, and it’s time for coach Doug Marrone to start worrying about that unit as much as he is about the quarterbacks.

The offensive line committed five penalties – including three by right guard A.J. Cann – and opened very little space in the run game during the Jaguars’ 24-23 loss to Carolina at EverBank Field on Thursday night. It was marginally better than the week before against Tampa Bay but still well below the level of play needed if the Jaguars are going to find any consistency on offense.

“I thought that we’ve had two rough games now,” Marrone said. “So we played [offensive line starters] a lot. The main reason was because of the quarterback situation, but the other reason is they need that work, too.

“We’ve got to get our work done, and they’ve got to continue to work. We’ve got time ahead of us, just like I told the team. I just told them that in the locker room. There’s a lot of things we’ve got to clean up. There’s some good spots, but overall consistency, we have some time and we’ve got three good practices coming up this week, and we’ve got a lot of work ahead of us.”

Here’s some of the ugliness from Thursday night:

Two false start penalties (right tackle Jermey Parnell and Cann) and three holding penalties (left guard Luke Bowanko and two by Cann).

Left tackle Cam Robinson was beaten cleanly for a sack by defensive end Mario Addison. Parnell was beaten for a sack by defensive end Bryan Cox, but quarterback Chad Henne did hold the ball a bit too long on that play.

There wasn’t much movement created in the run game, either. Taking away Corey Grant’s 51-yard run on a fake punt left the Jaguars with 85 yards on 25 carries (3.4 yards per carry). Henne’s 14-yard scramble was the longest run on offense and the longest run by a back was a 10-yarder by Chris Ivory.

The week before against Tampa Bay, the Jaguars rushed for 57 yards on 20 carries (2.9 per carry). Again, a quarterback had the longest run (13 yards by Brandon Allen). The longest run by a back was an 8-yarder by Grant.

Bowanko and Patrick Omameh are battling to be the starting left guard, but the other four positions are set and have been for nearly all of training camp so there’s not much Marrone can do in terms of personnel changes.

Granted, the Bucs and Panthers do have good defensive fronts, but the Jaguars want to be a physical, pound-it-out run team. The offensive line can’t get handled the way it has been the last two weeks and accomplish that goal. Marrone challenged the line to be better and stronger even before the offseason program began, and so far the group hasn’t responded.