Winless Jaguars turn to backups along O-line

By MARK LONG - AP Sports Writer
    2013-10-09 18:58

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Cam Bradfield and Austin Pasztor went from the bench to the trench in less than week.

The Jacksonville Jaguars actually performed better with them on the field.

The former backup offensive tackles are now starters for the Jaguars, whose patchwork offensive line could prove to be a turning point or a trouble spot for the winless franchise.

The Jaguars (0-5) traded left tackle Eugene Monroe to Baltimore last Tuesday, then lost rookie Luke Joeckel for the season five days later. That thrust Bradfield and Pasztor into spots they've never been before - Bradfield starting on the left side for the first time in his three-year NFL career and Pasztor on the right. How they handle the promotion could be the key to Jacksonville getting its sputtering ground game going.

``It's going to force us to communicate even more,'' guard Uche Nwaneri said Wednesday. ``Some guys are stepping in. They've been here, so they know how we're running things. But we need to be able to be on the same page at the same time.''

Jacksonville's line has looked discombobulated most of the season.

The Jaguars rank 30th in the league in rushing, averaging a little more than 58 yards a game. Switching to a zone-blocking scheme and getting three-time Pro Bowler Maurice Jones-Drew back from a foot injury did little to boost a ground game that struggled most of last season.

Outsiders blamed the inside guys, saying Nwaneri hasn't fully recovered from knee and ankle injuries, that 36-year-old center Brad Meester is showing his age and that third-year guard Will Rackley simply had to be replaced.

The attention has since shifted to the edge protectors.

The Jaguars traded Monroe for two third-day picks in the 2014 draft, a move they made mostly to get Joeckel in his more natural position at left tackle. It also got the franchise something in return for Monroe, the eighth overall pick in 2009 who was in the final year of his rookie contract.

Monroe wasn't a perfect fit in the new scheme, so the Jaguars had decided they were unlikely to pay him the kind of money he would garner in free agency.

The move backfired when Joeckel broke his right ankle in the first quarter Sunday at St. Louis. Joeckel was placed on injured reserve Tuesday.

Now, the Jaguars are left with Bradfield and Pasztor.

``They did a nice job,'' coach Gus Bradley said. ``We talked earlier about the world being big for some of those guys, but when they're thrust into it like that, I think that they performed pretty well.''

Jacksonville ran for a season-high 96 yards against the Rams. Jones-Drew finished with 70 yards on 17 carries, though 68 of his yards came after contact.

``It's just how it's been,'' Jones-Drew said. ``Runs are set up for you to beat one guy and now the guys have been a little bit lower in the box than before. You've just got to be ready for that.''

Having receiver Justin Blackmon back from a four-game suspension for violating the league's substance-abuse policy may have helped open things up. It also could have been that Jacksonville played St. Louis, which ranks 23rd in the league in total defense and 27th in rushing defense.

``I felt like a number of things came together,'' Nwaneri said. ``Having Justin back took that extra man out of the box and Maurice started to get into a little bit of a groove. We started to see him break those tackles and stretch those runs out into bigger gains and us getting some movement on the line and creating some lanes for the running backs.

``It really allowed us to get into a rhythm with that running game in the second half last week.''

Now the challenge is whether the Jaguars can continue to move the ball on the ground.

Jacksonville plays at Denver (5-0) on Sunday. The Broncos lead the NFL in rushing defense, giving up less than 70 yards a game. That's one of the many reasons the Jaguars are 28-point underdogs.

``Every man who's here is paid to do a job and paid to go out and perform at a high level,'' Nwaneri said. ``People on the outside are going to say whatever they want to say. It's just people's nature. People like to see others go through misery, like to see people go through problems. But inside these walls, we're all confident in what we can do.''


AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Arian FosterOct 6 07:52p

Houston Texans RB Arian Foster (groin) was limited in practice Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Latavius MurrayOct 6 03:32p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray still has the confidence of head coach Jack Del Rio, despite a rough outing in Week 4 against the Chicago Bears. Murray accounted for [ More ]

Andrew LuckOct 6 03:22p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) does not have a partial shoulder subluxation, as had been reported previously, according to a source. Head coach Chuck Pagano said he heard [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsOct 6 02:13p

Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley said WR Sammy Watkins (calf) will play in Week 5 against the Tennessee Titans 'fingers crossed.'

Dan HerronOct 6 02:13p

Free-agent RB Dan Herron (Colts) was signed by the Buffalo Bills Tuesday, Oct. 6. TE MarQueis Gray (forearm) was placed on the Reserve/Injured list.

Daniel FellsOct 6 01:52p

New York Giants TE Daniel Fells (ankle) had surgery this week on his ankle and was diagnosed with MRSA, which is a very serious condition.

Roddy WhiteOct 6 01:42p

Atlanta Falcons WR Roddy White could be open to a trade due to a declining role with the Falcons.

Devin HesterOct 6 01:32p

Atlanta Falcons WR Devin Hester (toe) was placed on the short-term Reserve/Injured list Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Fred JacksonOct 6 01:22p

Seattle Seahawks RB Fred Jackson (ankle) is dealing with a high ankle sprain, according to head coach Pete Carroll.

Eric EbronOct 6 12:32p

Updating an earlier report, Detroit Lions TE Eric Ebron (knee) had an MRI reveal no structural damage in his left knee. His status is to be determined for Week 5.

Markus WheatonOct 6 12:22p

Pittsburgh Steelers WR Markus Wheaton (ankle) looks dramatically improved from his ankle injury and has a good chance to play in Week 5 against the San Diego Chargers.

Eric EbronOct 6 11:52a

Detroit Lions TE Eric Ebron (knee) had X-rays on his left knee, which were negative. He'll have an MRI as well.

Connor BarthOct 6 10:43a

Free-agent PK Connor Barth (Buccaneers) has re-signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Tuesday, Oct. 6, as he beat out other kickers to replace PK Kyle Brindza. Brindza was released.

Caleb SturgisOct 6 10:22a

Philadelphia Eagles PK Caleb Sturgis won't be replaced after missing a field goal and an extra point in Week 4, according to head coach Chip Kelly. 'We're going to [ More ]

Steve SmithOct 6 09:52a

Baltimore Ravens WR Steve Smith (back) is day to day and hasn't been ruled out for Week 5, according to WR Kamar Aiken.

Karlos WilliamsOct 6 09:02a

Buffalo Bills RB Karlos Williams (concussion) sustained a concussion in Week 4, and his status is uncertain against the Tennessee Titans in Week 5.

Zach HockerOct 6 08:33a

New Orleans Saints PK Zach Hocker could be in danger of losing his job as the Saints are trying out kickers Tuesday, Oct. 6.

Russell WilsonOct 6 01:22a

Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson completed 20 of his 26 pass attempts for 287 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions in the Week 4 game against the Detroit Lions [ More ]

Thomas RawlsOct 6 01:22a

Seattle Seahawks RB Thomas Rawls saw a lion's share of the carries against the Detroit Lions in Week 4 Monday, Oct. 5, running for 48 yards on 17 carries [ More ]

Matthew StaffordOct 6 12:42a

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford completed 24 of his 35 pass attempts for 203 yards, no touchdowns and no interceptions in the Week 4 game Monday, Oct. 5, against the Seattle Seahawks.

Ameer AbdullahOct 6 12:42a

Detroit Lions RB Ameer Abdullah carried 13 times for just 33 yards in the Week 4 game against the Seattle Seahawks Monday, Oct. 5, and he added two receptions [ More ]

Calvin JohnsonOct 6 12:42a

Detroit Lions WR Calvin Johnson had seven receptions for 56 yards in the Week 4 game against the Seattle Seahawks, but he was also credited with a lost fumble [ More ]

Andrew LuckOct 5 09:22p

Updating a previous report, Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) could be on target to play in the Week 5 game against the Houston Texans Thursday, Oct. 8, as [ More ]

Andrew LuckOct 5 07:52p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) is 'trending in the right direction' to return against the Houston Texans in Week 5 Thursday, Oct. 8, after taking part in the [ More ]

Marshawn LynchOct 5 07:32p

Seattle Seahawks RB Marshawn Lynch (hamstring) was able to run during pregame warmups Monday, Oct. 5, and appears to have a good chance to play in the Week 5 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Alec OgletreeOct 5 07:02p

Updating a previous report, St. Louis Rams LB Alec Ogletree (ankle) suffered a fracture ankle during the team's Week 4 game. He is scheduled to undergo surgery and may [ More ]

Sean LeeOct 5 06:42p

Dallas Cowboys LB Sean Lee (concussion) is feeling better but will have to pass all of his concussion tests before he is cleared to play again, according to head coach Jason Garrett.

Lance DunbarOct 5 06:42p

Dallas Cowboys RB Lance Dunbar (knee) will miss the rest of the 2015 season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament he suffered in Week 4. He scheduled [ More ]

Ronnie BrownOct 5 05:32p

Free-agent RB Ronnie Brown (Chargers) re-signed with the San Diego Chargers Monday, Oct. 5, according to a source. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Andrew LuckOct 5 05:12p

Indianapolis Colts QB Andrew Luck (shoulder) is expected to play in the Week 5 game against the Houston Texans Thursday, Oct. 8. Luck has a slightly separated throwing shoulder [ More ]

Sammy WatkinsOct 5 04:42p

Buffalo Bills WR Sammy Watkins' (calf) status for the Week 5 game against the Tennessee Titans is uncertain at this point, according to head coach Rex Ryan. 'He looked [ More ]

Jordan ReedOct 5 04:42p

Washington Redskins TE Jordan Reed's (concussion, knee, ankle) head injury is a real concern, according to head coach Jay Gruden. Reed has a long history of head injuries dating [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
Player Notes:
Forum Posts:

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group