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Jacksonville Jaguars

Marrone still hasn’t solved Jaguars left guard dilemma

Roy Cummings

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Photo by Todd Kirkland/Icon Sportswire

Training camp and the preseason are designed at least in part to bring clarity to murky situations regarding the make-up of a football team. For the Jacksonville Jaguars, however, there is one such situation that only became murkier as the preseason drew to a close.

Through three weeks of training camp and four preseason games coach Doug Marrone still seems unsure of what to do at left guard, and the way he manned the position during the Jaguars 13-7 victory over the Falcons on Thursday suggests he’s actualy more more confused now than ever over what to do.

After starting incumbent Patrick Omameh at the position for the first two games of the preseason, Marrone started former center Luke Bowanko there for Game 3. On Thursday, though, his starting guard was fourth-year pro Earl Watford, who started eight games at right guard for the Cardinals a year ago.

So who will start at left guard on Opening Day against the Texans? It’s anyone’s guess at this point. Even Marrone admits he’s still got some thinking to do on the matter. That at least is what he said in the wake of the Jaguars final preseason game in which Omameh started at left tackle while right guard A.J. Cann started at center.

“Normally I can watch a game and tell you about a situation,’’ Marrone said in the aftermath of a 13-7 victory over the Falcons. “But this one’s going to be close. I think it’s going to be tough. I think I’d rather, (instead of) pull(ing) it out of my back pocket, I want to be sure on this one.’’

What seems sure is that the Jaguars have no clear answer and that no one has stepped up and taken the job from anyone else, which suggests change could be constant. That is unless the Jaguars do what might be the best thing and move Brandon Linder back to left guard.

Linder is easily the Jaguars best offensive linemen. He’s a Pro Bowl caliber player who has filled a gaping hole at center, which is why the Jaguars are hesitant to move him, but a team that plans to lean on a power running game offensively is going to need good guard play.

Yes, it’s going to need good center play as well, but Bowanko can still play center adequately so a switch may be coming. In fact, it’s possible an even bigger switch is coming once all the teams around the league reduce their rosters to the 53-man limit.

It’s quite possible that as perplexed as they seem to be over who the best option is at left guard, the Jaguars may add yet another body to the mix (center Jeremy Zuttah, maybe?) before handing the job to one of the players already on the roster.

At this position, it seems, anything is possible.

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.

Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars hire former Redskins coach Gruden as OC

Florida Football Insiders

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

It didn’t take long for the Jaguars to come up with a new offensive coordinator and it will be a very familiar name to fans of the NFL and in specific, in Florida. Former Redskins coach and Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden has been hired buy coach Doug Marrone to assume play-calling duties.

NFL Network insiders Tom Pelissero and Ian Rapoport had the news first on Tuesday night, that the Jags had settled on the Redskins coach who was fired during his sixth season back in October:

Gruden, the younger brother of Raiders coach Jon Gruden, was fired in October after the Skins 0-5 start and while in his sixth season in Washington. He mostly struggled for the Redskins to have success with a 35-49-1 overall record. However, they won the NFC East in Gruden’s second year (2015) with a 9-7 record, but were beaten at home in the Wildcard Weekend by the Green Bay Packers.

Gruden worked his way up to his first head coaching job after having been the offensive coordinator for Marvin Lewis for three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. There, he worked with quarterback Andy Dalton and spectacular WR A.J. Green and his final year (2013), the Bengals were 6th in overall offense and fifth in scoring.

The Jaguars had also reportedly interviewed former Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, and had also been considering former Cowboys and Rams offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, for their vacancy. Coach Doug Marrone fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after just one season last week.

While the team termed it “mutually parting ways,” DeFilippo was quickly hired by the Chicago Bears last Wednesday, as a quarterback coach. And, obviously going from an NFL offensive coordinator job to a QB coach is not a lateral move.

Back to Jay Gruden. He is best known in our state for having been outstanding Arena Football League quarterback leading both the Tampa Bay Storm and the Orlando Predators franchises to Arena Bowl Championships.

Later his career Gruden was a player coach for the Orlando franchise, while also working during the NFL seasons in the fall as an offensive assistant under brother with the Buccaneers, including their 2002 Super Bowl win.

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Jacksonville Jaguars

Jaguars interviewing former Redskins coach Jay Gruden for OC

Florida Football Insiders

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Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars continue to look for a new offensive coordinator in an interesting name with Florida connections has emerged.

Fox Sports NFL Insider Mike Garafolo reported on Sunday that former Redskins head coach and longtime Arena Football League star player and coach in the Sunshine State, Jay Gruden is on their radar:

Gruden was fired in October after an 0-5 start and while in his sixth season in Washington. He mostly struggled for the Redskins to have success with a 35-49-1 overall record. However, they won the NFC East in Gruden’s second year (2015) with a 9-7 record, but we’re beaten at home in the Wildcard Weekend by the Green Bay Packers.

Gruden worked his way up to his first head coaching job after having been the offensive coordinator for Marvin Lewis for three seasons with the Cincinnati Bengals. There, he worked with quarterback Andy Dalton and spectacular WR A.J. Green and his final year (2013), the Bengals were 6th in overall offense and fifth in scoring.

The Jaguars have also reportedly interviewed former Giants head coach, Ben McAdoo, and are said to also be considering former Cowboys and Rams offensive coordinator, Scott Linehan, for their vacancy. Coach Doug Marrone fired first-year offensive coordinator John DeFilippo after just one season last week.

While the team termed it “mutually parting ways,” DeFilippo was quickly hired by the Chicago Bears Wednesday, as a quarterback coach. And, obviously going from an NFL offensive coordinator job to a QB coach is not a lateral move.

Jacksonville’s offense sputtered at times this past season, although it was handicapped when prized free agent quarterback Nick Foles was hurt in the first game of the season and missed 9 weeks with a fractured collarbone. Rookie sixth round pick, Gardner Minshew, was good at times in relief and helped Jacksonville win six games overall with his play.

Back to Jay Gruden. He is best known in our state for having been outstanding Arena Football League quarterback leading both the Tampa Bay Storm and the Orlando Predators franchises to Arena Bowl Championships.

Later his career Gruden was a player coach for the Orlando franchise, while also working during the NFL seasons in the fall as an offensive assistant under brother Jon Gruden with the Buccaneers.

Of course, the elder Gruden is now the coach of the Raiders again, and they are slated to move to Las Vegas for this fall. And, it’s entirely possible that Jay Gruden could be joining his brother with them, as well.

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