2014 DRAFT GUIDE
Falcons, Jaguars trying to settle O-line in finale

By MARK LONG - AP Sports Writer
    2014-08-27 15:44

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - The Jacksonville Jaguars had few, if any, concerns at center for a dozen years.

Brad Meester was Jacksonville's man in the middle every season since 2002, and he was arguably the most consistent and dependable player in franchise history. He set a team record for games played (208) and notched the two longest streaks of consecutive starts (92 and 89).

So it should be no surprise that the Jaguars have had a tough time replacing him.

The Jaguars essentially benched center Mike Brewster after two preseason games, opening up the job to journeyman Jacques McClendon and rookie Luke Bowanko.

Jacksonville hopes to settle the position in Thursday's preseason finale against Atlanta, which also is looking to finalize its offensive line.

''We just want to challenge them one more time to see who shows up and what we're looking for,'' Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said.

Brewster was supposed to slide right into the starting job. The former Ohio State standout spent two years waiting for Meester to retire, but he sailed two shotgun snaps over Chad Henne's head in the preseason opener against Tampa Bay and then got handled inside the following week at Chicago.

''I try to stay positive,'' Brewster said. ''I don't see the point in ever worrying about certain things you don't control. You've just got to prepare yourself for anything and that's how I've always been. It's how I was raised and it's how I'm always going to be. Just don't let anything like that throw you off.''

All indications are Bowanko will get the nod over McClendon, who is expected to start at left guard against the Falcons in place of Zane Beadles (calf).

Jacksonville selected Bowanko in the sixth round of the NFL draft in May. The Virginia graduate wasn't expected to start right away, especially since the Jaguars already have third-round pick Brandon Linder penciled in at right guard and second-year pro Luke Joeckel starting at left tackle.

But with Brewster's struggles, the Jaguars believe they will be better off in the long run if they get the rookies on the field - even if it means taking some lumps early.

''It's like coming in your first day of college,'' Bowanko said. ''You know others here have been doing this for a while, but it's not really about them. It's about what you can do and what abilities you bring to the table and justifying people's faith that they had in you to draft you.

''I just came in, and if I was good enough to do that, it would kind of take care of itself. Nothing is etched in stone, anything even to this day. So I'm just working to get better and put my best stuff out there.''

Bowanko might be further along had it not been for a foot injury that kept him out parts of training camp.

''He's got a lot of upside,'' Bradley said. ''It's unfortunate that he's nicked up a little bit. We're intrigued by him. He just needs to get reps. He needs to get bounced around a little bit, get a feel for that.

''He's healthy enough to play, but I think in his mind, he's not quite 100 percent. So what a good feel for him to learn that he's got to play at a high level because you're going to get banged up.''

The Falcons know all about that, especially along the offensive line.

Atlanta's patchwork line was a huge problem in 2013. The Falcons responded by drafting Texas A&M's Jake Matthews with the sixth overall pick. They planned to play Matthews at right tackle, but had to move him to the left side when Sam Baker went down with a season-ending knee injury in the preseason.

Lamar Holmes has been the starting right tackle since, but Gabe Carimi also has a chance to earn the starting spot Thursday night. Carimi missed the first three preseason games with an ankle injury.

''It's going to be an important night for a lot of players,'' Falcons coach Mike Smith said. ''It's going to be an important night for our organization. We've got some tough decisions to make.''

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Chris CantyFeb 27 11:32a

Baltimore Ravens DE Chris Canty was released Friday, Feb. 27. The move saved the team around $2.7 million on the salary cap.

Brian HartlineFeb 27 10:32a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Harry DouglasFeb 27 10:32a

Atlanta Falcons WR Harry Douglas was released Friday, Feb. 27.

Matt HasselbeckFeb 26 07:42p

Indianapolis Colts impending free-agent QB Matt Hasselbeck was re-signed to a one-year deal Thursday, Feb. 26. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Steven JacksonFeb 26 07:32p

Atlanta Falcons RB Steven Jackson will reportedly be released Friday, Feb. 27.

Adrian PetersonFeb 26 05:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension was overturned by U.S. District Judge David S. Doty Thursday, Feb. 26. However, the NFL also announced that they will appeal the ruling, [ More ]

Travis KelceFeb 26 05:42p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce, who led the team with 67 catches and 862 receiving yards in 2014, is expected to be a more prominent part of the [ More ]

Kendall LangfordFeb 26 04:12p

St. Louis Rams DT Kendall Langford was released Thursday, Feb. 26, saving the team $6 million in salary cap space.

Greg HardyFeb 26 02:32p

Carolina Panthers impending free-agent DE Greg Hardy will seek immediate reinstatement after a judge overturned Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension, according to a source.

Theo RiddickFeb 26 02:22p

Detroit Lions RB Theo Riddick likely will be given the chance to earn a bigger role in the offense next season after the team released RB Reggie Bush.

Adrian PetersonFeb 26 12:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's suspension has been overturned after a judge granted a motion from the NFL Players Association to vacate the suspension.

Michael RoosFeb 26 12:02p

Free-agent OT Michael Roos (Titans) has announced his retirement from professional football.

Dez BryantFeb 26 09:03a

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant is likely to receive the franchise tag because the team is hesitant to sign him long term due to a lack of trust off [ More ]

Peyton ManningFeb 25 09:23p

The Denver Broncos and representatives for QB Peyton Manning are working on revising the veteran's contract, according to multiple league sources. He is scheduled to draw a $19 million [ More ]

Reggie BushFeb 25 05:33p

Detroit Lions RB Reggie Bush has been cut Wednesday, Feb. 25.

A.J. HawkFeb 25 04:43p

Green Bay Packers LB A.J. Hawk was released Wednesday, Feb. 25. The move will save them $3.5 million against the salary cap in 2015.

Jacoby JonesFeb 25 12:33p

Baltimore Ravens WR Jacoby Jones was released Wednesday, Feb. 25.

Peyton HillisFeb 25 10:43a

New York Giants RB Peyton Hillis was released Wednesday, Feb. 25. The move saves $945,000 on the 2015 salary cap.

Dez BryantFeb 24 10:33p

Dallas Cowboys WR Dez Bryant's NFL career could be in jeopardy if a video he allegedly appears is as bad as it sounds. A source said the 'incriminating video [ More ]

Jake LongFeb 24 09:23p

The St. Louis Rams are likely to release OT Jake Long this offseason for savings against the salary cap, according to beat writer Nick Wagoner.

Mathias KiwanukaFeb 24 03:33p

New York Giants DE Mathias Kiwanuka has been released Tuesday, Feb. 24.

DeAngelo WilliamsFeb 24 12:23p

Free-agent RB DeAngelo Williams (Panthers) said he was not upset when the Carolina Panthers told him last week that he'd be released. Williams told Charlotte's WBTV that DE Greg [ More ]

Adrian PetersonFeb 23 06:13p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's father denied a report that Peterson no longer wants to play for Minnesota. Peterson's father said Peterson is still open to a return to [ More ]

Ted Ginn Jr.Feb 23 04:53p

Arizona Cardinals WR Ted Ginn Jr. was released Monday, Feb. 23.

Adrian PetersonFeb 23 02:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's situation with the team worsened during the NFL scouting combine as his agent and members of Minnesota's front office had a heated verbal altercation, [ More ]

Victor CruzFeb 21 10:22a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) looks good as he continues to recover from a torn right pateller tendon in his knee, according to general manager Jerry Reese. [ More ]

R. Griffin IIIFeb 20 02:52p

Washington Redskins QB Robert Griffin III will enter the 2015 season as the team's starting quarterback, and general manager Bruce Allen thinks Griffin's ceiling in the NFL remains high. [ More ]

Devonta FreemanFeb 20 08:42a

Atlanta Falcons RB Devonta Freeman fits well in offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan's scheme, according to head coach Dan Quinn. 'My first impression: I can feel the quickness,' Quinn said [ More ]

Victor CruzFeb 19 07:12p

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) may commence running shortly, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. Cruz is recovering from a torn right patellar tendon in his right knee.

Andre EllingtonFeb 19 05:12p

Arizona Cardinals RB Andre Ellington (foot) remains the focal point of the offense, according to Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians. Ellington split the injured tendon in his left foot, [ More ]

C.J. AndersonFeb 19 02:22p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson finished the year as the team's No. 1 running back and made the Pro Bowl, but new head coach Gary Kubiak said Anderson must [ More ]

James CaseyFeb 19 02:22p

Philadelphia Eagles TE James Casey has been released.

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