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

Paul RichardsonMar 26 12:43a

Seattle Seahawks WR Paul Richardson (knee) might not be ready for the start of the season, head coach Pete Carroll indicated Wednesday, March 25. Carroll did say Richardson's rehab [ More ]

Blake BortlesMar 25 08:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles received an endorsement from head coach Gus Bradley Tuesday, March 24. Speaking at the AFC Coaches Breakfast at the NFL Annual Meetings Tuesday, Bradley [ More ]

Travis KelceMar 25 06:03p

Kansas City Chiefs TE Travis Kelce played at roughly 250 pounds in 2014, but head coach Andy Reid wants Kelce to report bigger in 2015, and Reid thinks Kelce [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 25 05:03p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota isn't an option for the New Orleans Saints in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, according to head coach Sean Payton. Payton said [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 04:33p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is wanted back in Minnesota, but the question is if Peterson wants to come back. Head coach Mike Zimmer said he doesn't believe Peterson [ More ]

Ifeanyi MomahMar 25 03:13p

Free-agent TE Ifeanyi Momah (Lions) signed a one-year contract with the Arizona Cardinals Wednesday, March 25. Financial terms were undisclosed.

Terence NewmanMar 25 01:53p

Free-agent CB Terence Newman (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Minnesota Vikings Wednesday, March 25, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Jordy NelsonMar 25 12:23p

Green Bay Packers WR Jordy Nelson (hip) underwent hip surgery this offseason and is expected to be sidelined for six to eight weeks.

Victor CruzMar 25 11:53a

New York Giants WR Victor Cruz (knee) could miss the start of the 2015 season with a torn patellar tendon in his knee, according to head coach Tom Coughlin. [ More ]

Josh HillMar 25 11:03a

New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill is expected to have a bigger role in the offense in 2015. Head coach Sean Payton has mentioned him quite a bit since [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 25 10:53a

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is disgruntled and reportedly wants out of Minnesota, but head coach Mike Zimmer said the team has no plans to trade him.

Cody LatimerMar 24 09:33p

The Denver Broncos plan to use WR Cody Latimer as the third receiver behind WRs Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders in 2015. 'I think it's time for him to [ More ]

Casey MatthewsMar 24 06:32p

Free-agent LB Casey Matthews (Eagles) agreed to terms with the Minnesota Vikings Tuesday, March 24. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

R. Griffin IIIMar 24 04:42p

Washington Redskins general manager Scot McCloughan said that the team will go with the best player available in the 2015 NFL Draft with the No. 5 overall pick, which [ More ]

Michael CrabtreeMar 24 03:02p

Free-agent WR Michael Crabtree (49ers) is having a hard time being signed this offseason, reportedly due to concerns regarding lower-leg injuries and a negative perception about his attitude.

Ray McDonaldMar 24 02:02p

Free-agent DE Ray McDonald (49ers) is signing an undisclosed deal with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24.

Stephen BowenMar 24 01:32p

Free-agent DE Stephen Bowen (Redskins) is signing an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Tuesday, March 24.

Geno SmithMar 24 01:22p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith will be the starting quarterback ahead of QB Ryan Fitzpatrick entering training camp this summer, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. 'You [ More ]

Zach MettenbergerMar 24 01:12p

Oregon QB Marcus Mariota is a realistic option for the Tennessee Titans with the second overall selection in this year's NFL Draft, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt is impressed [ More ]

Jarvis JenkinsMar 24 10:42a

Free-agent DE Jarvis Jenkins (Redskins) agreed with the Chicago Bears Tuesday, March 24, on a one-year deal.

Johnny ManzielMar 24 08:52a

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel is expected back with the team for offseason workouts April 20 after completing more than two months of treatment.

Adrian PetersonMar 23 07:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's agent, Ben Dogra, said Monday, March 23, that he doesn't think 'it's in Adrian's best interest to play in Minnesota' in 2015 and beyond. [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 06:02p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is expected to be part of the Vikings next season, according to general manager Rick Spielman. 'Adrian's a member of our football team,' Spielman [ More ]

Drew BreesMar 23 01:22p

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees will not be traded, according to general manager Mickey Loomis. Recent speculation said that Brees may be on the trade block after his [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 23 12:52p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's preference is to play elsewhere than with the Vikings in 2015, according to a league source. He is under contract through the 2017 season [ More ]

Adrian PetersonMar 22 08:32p

Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson's future remains unclear, but head coach Mike Zimmer recently said that the Vikings are 'excited' to have him back. Zimmer had previously said that [ More ]

James HarrisonMar 22 12:42p

Free-agent LB James Harrison (Steelers) signed a two-year deal with the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday, March 22. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Branden OliverMar 21 03:52p

San Diego Chargers RB Branden Oliver is penciled in as the starting running back at this point.

EJ ManuelMar 21 12:52a

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel is not locked in as the starting quarterback. Head coach Rex Ryan said Friday, March 20, that the quarterback competition will be open. 'It's [ More ]

Kevin VickersonMar 20 05:52p

Free-agent DT Kevin Vickerson (Chiefs) agreed to terms on an undisclosed deal with the New York Jets Friday, March 20.

Matt MooreMar 20 04:32p

Free-agent QB Matt Moore (Dolphins) re-signed with the Miami Dolphins Friday, March 20. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

Adrian PetersonMar 20 02:42p

Updating an ongoing story, Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson is clearly wanted back by the organization, and general manager Rick Spielman once again stressed that they will make every [ 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