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Constant force


When it comes to Brad Meester, Uche Nwaneri said it's easy to overlook the little things.

But Nwaneri, the second-most tenured player on the Jaguars' offensive line, said while it's easy to take Meester – far and away the longest-tenured player not only on the line, but the entire Jaguars' roster – for granted, it's wrong to do so.

The little things Meester does? Nwaneri said they're also important things.

And without those things, the Jaguars' offensive line – one of the NFL's best run-blocking units and a group that has helped Maurice Jones-Drew to two consecutive Pro Bowls – would look a lot different.

"Brad is that guy here," Nwaneri said as the Jaguars (3-6) prepared to play the Cleveland Browns (3-6) at Cleveland Browns Stadium in Cleveland, Ohio, Sunday at 1 p.m.

"He's been here the longest. He's been a consistent player for this franchise. He's been the leader the whole time he has been here. We're fortunate to have a guy like that. Sometimes, we might take it for granted.

"Nobody's perfect. He's had mistakes. Everybody has had mistakes, but he's been a constant force."

How constant? Consider:

Not only is Meester the only player on the Jaguars' roster who has been on the team longer than Jack Del Rio has been head coach, he has started more games – 170 – than any player in Jaguars history. He's also the only player in Jaguars history to play 12 seasons.

When he plays against the Browns Sunday, he'll achieve another honor:

At 171, he'll tie wide receiver Jimmy Smith for most games played in franchise history.

 "It's great because it means you've been dependable and productive for a long time," Del Rio said of Meester, a second-round selection by the Jaguars in the 2000 NFL Draft. "When you have career marks like that, it means you've stood for something over time. That says something.

"A lot of people are capable of having a good year, a couple of years. When you string together as many as he has, that's something special."

Jones-Drew said Meester's value to the line and to the offense – calling blocking assignments at the line of scrimmage as well as his play during the play – can't be overestimated.

"Since I've been here, he's been the guy calling the snaps," Jones-Drew said. "He does a great job getting us into a situation where we can be successful, pointing a guy out, changing the play when they're blitzing. He's kind of the anchor to the pass game, giving Blaine a great pocket. He's doing a great job.

"He's the one consistent thing. He's going to stay that way as long as I'm here and as long as I can do something about it."

Jones-Drew said Meester also has been a veteran presence on a relatively young line. While Nwaneri is in his fifth season, left tackle Eugene Monroe is in his third and left guard Will Rackley is starting as a rookie. Right tackle Guy Whimper also is in his first year starting for the Jaguars.

"He's the one consistent thing since I've been here," Jones-Drew said. "What he's doing is teaching these guys we've had up front how to take care of their bodies, how to block, how to get their job done. That's great to have at that position."

Said Nwaneri, "There are so many different things that go into playing center, snapping the ball, making the calls, knowing where to be, understanding the defense, being able to read keys. It's something you can take for granted, because he does it so well. You actually assume he's doing it 100 percent and you assume he's correct. It says a lot about him. He has been highly underrated.

"Whenever that time may be, maybe five years from now that he has to retire, we'll realize just how great a player he is and how much we'll miss his presence on the team."

Also around the Jaguars Wednesday:

*Chastin West and Jarrett Dillard have moved to the second-team on the Jaguars' depth chart at wide receiver, and Del Rio said Wednesday the pair should get more playing time. West caught three passes for 39 yards in Indianapolis and Dillard caught his first NFL touchdown pass. "We'll continue to play the guys who performed and earn it," Del Rio said. Del Rio said defensive tackles C.J. Mosely and Nate Collins also earned more time in the wake of an injury to defensive tackle Terrance Knighton. "When you play well, you earn more opportunities," Del Rio said.

*Cornerback Derek Cox worked on the left side Wednesday in place of cornerback Rashean Mathis, who was placed on injured reserve with a knee injury Monday. Will Middleton moved into the starting role on the right side. "Sometimes, I have to go on the left side anyway, depending on the coverage we're in," Cox said. "You adjust and play the position. The technique is going to be the same regardless – left, right, it won't matter." Cox said he has practiced extensively on each side. "You don't ever want to go to the gym and just do curls with your right arm," Cox said. "You do both sides in practice and individual drills." Cox said he worked exclusively on the left side Wednesday.

*Middleton also on Wednesday took time to praise Mathis as a leader of the secondary and a mentor to younger players. "He's a great player to mold oneself after," Middleton said. "There's no greater professional in this locker room. You can say I'm being biased, but looking at what he's done and accomplished, I'm just telling you: he's a great person to look up to."

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