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Jaguars OL Linder appears to be on the move back to guard

Roy Cummings



photo by Leslie Plaza Johnson/icon Sports Wire

The Jaguars are sure that Brandon Linder is one of their five best offensive linemen. What they’re not sure of is where Linder fits best in what would be their best offensive line.

After two years of working at right guard, Linder moved to center last year and thinking he’d be there again this year, he spent time this offseason studying the likes of Alex Mack and Rodney Hudson.

Those study sessions may still come in handy, but based on what he’s been doing in OTAs so far this year it appears as though Linder will be heading back to guard for the 2017 season.

Nothing is set in stone yet, but Linder said his work at center has been limited to pre-practice snaps with the quarterbacks and some individual drill work while he has spent most of the team periods working at guard.

“I’ve been mostly at guard … so now I have to perfect my guard sets again and just get back to honing in on my guard techniques,’’ Linder said. “But that’s what OTAs are for.’’

Linder said he has no idea where he’ll be, whether it’s guard or center, once training camp rolls around, but you get the feeling the 2014 third-round pick out of Miami wouldn’t mind staying at center.

He said he reached a point last year where he felt like he was playing the position quite well, but he also understands the Jaguars desire to put the best five players on the field.

And there’s no doubt that’s the objective of former offensive line coach coach Doug Marrone, who has taken over as the Jags new head coach and has what some may consider to be a unique viewpoint on O-line construction.

Like most line coaches, Marrone agrees that developing good chemistry and continuity within the offensive line group is important, but he says those factors can both be overrated.

“We want to make sure we are in position to put the best guys out there and just let them compete and see who wins,’’ Marrone said. “Now, people will come back and say, ‘What about chemistry and continuity?’

“Listen, would you rather have good chemistry and stink or would you rather have less chemistry and be better? We are trying to be better, (so) we’ll see what we can do there.’’

Marrone makes a good point. The Jaguars O-line wasn’t very good last year and while Linder may have been the best part of it, it doesn’t hurt to see if the unit can be better with him somewhere else.

The good news is that Linder seems to be all-in on whatever plan the Jaguars decide to go with. Too bad the same cannot be said of Branden Albert, who continues to sulk over his contract and sit out.



Roy Cummings is a native of Chicago, Illinois who grew up in the suburb of Lombard. He and his family later moved to Lakeland, Florida, where Roy attended high school at Kathleen High. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor's Degree in Mass Communications in 1983 and immediately went to work for the Tampa Tribune. After five years working in a Polk County bureau covering everything from high school sports to college football to the Orlando Magic of the NBA, Roy moved back to Tampa and became the Tribune's first beat writer for the Tampa Bay Lightning, covering the team from its inception through the first eight years on the ice. He was then moved to the Buccaneers beat, where he stayed until the paper was folded in May, 2016. A two-time Florida Sports Writer of the Year, Roy has extensive experience covering all Tampa professional sports teams, including the Tampa Bay Rays.

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