Zane Beadles, AJ Cann And The Jacksonville Jaguars Offensive Line
It’s hard not to read between the lines of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ decision to draft AJ can in the third round almost two weeks ago.
The message is clear that left guard Zane Beadles must play better in 2015. Cann, a star offensive lineman at South Carolina, is expected to play on the left side – in the same spot that Beadles, the Jaguars free agent signing last season who was supposed to solidify the left side of the line with Luke Joeckel, did not play as well as he could have in 2014.
"I don’t know if it’s a so-called wake-up call," Bradley said on ESPN.com. "For Zane, I think he went through the season and he probably didn’t play as well as he had hoped. But I thought when he came back in, when we saw him in just visiting with him, I think he knows what he needs to do."
That would be playing with more consistency. The 6-foot-4, 305-pound Beadles started every game at left guard in 2014 but struggled with the transition from Denver’s zone-blocking scheme to the Jaguars’ zone-blocking scheme. He played better in the final six weeks of the season, but he still wasn’t close to playing at the level that earned him Pro Bowl honors in 2012. But a $30 million contract from the Jaguars may have proven to be too much for the effort he put out last season.
Let’s be honest though – the two best linemen on the roster last season might have been Luke Bowanko and Brandon Linder, two rookies who played at center and right guard, respectively. Beadles did not meet expectations, Joeckel is still learning and right tackle was a revolving door last season.
Cann comes in with an eye on starting week one. Beadles had better be on alert.
The fact the Jaguars now have Doug Marrone roaming the practice field as the team’sm offensive line coach should be a benefit to everyone concerned, especially Joeckel and Beadles. But don’t be surprise if Cann is knocking on door, rather breaking it down, taking a starting role for the 2015 season.
The only spot on the line that appears to be solid before the season starts is at right tackle where the team signed Jeremy Parnell from Dallas and right guard where Linder was a stud in his first season.
The team as a whole must improve on the averaging just 102.1 yards per game rushing (21st in the NFL) and giving up a franchise-record and league-worst 71 sacks. Keeping Blake Bortles upright and clean is a major objective and the mantra for this unit in 2015.
But for now, the eyes will remain focused on Beadles and his challenge by the SEC road grader.