JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars' offensive line must improve.
If there's an overriding, central theme around the Jaguars this offseason, that may be it. Luke Bowanko knows it, and so does pretty much everyone involved with the offensive line.
Bowanko said not only must it happen, he very much believes it will happen. And that's something else he has in common with the rest of the offensive line.
"We're a confident group," Bowanko said Wednesday afternoon during an appearance on Jaguars.com LIVE with J.P. Shadrick and John Oehser. "It's not like we're out here looking over our shoulder trying to figure out, 'What's going to happen next?'
"We know we have the ability to do it. We just have to come together as a group. We need to get better, obviously – get stronger as a unit. But working together for a year, that stuff comes along with it.
"With the work we've put in we're confident that with our abilities we can get it going."
Bowanko, a sixth-round selection in the 2014 NFL Draft, started the last 14 games at center last season, taking over the position from Jacques McClendon following the preseason release of projected starter Mike Brewster.
Bowanko talked on Wednesday about the benefits of starting extensively as a rookie.
"Throughout the season it's either flight or fight," he said. "You have to figure it out on the run. You see the defense line up, and you see they're lined up that way, but in that second, you don't really know why or what can come from that formation. By the end of the season, you see them moving and see safeties rotating and through film and meetings with coaches, you figure out what's going on.
"It's easier to anticipate and easier to help out the guys around you. That kind of stuff comes so far. Even in the offseason, you watch film and see tendencies. Even though that's not specifically what they're going to run Week 1, you can use that knowledge to help you win football games."
Bowanko said some things he sees watching film of last season now seem so obvious that it "hurts to watch sometimes."
"But that's part of the learning process," he said.
The Jaguars are scheduled to open their voluntary offseason conditioning program April 20, with organized team activities and a minicamp to follow, but players have been able to work out on their own and in groups since the end of last season. Bowanko has been among the offensive linemen working out consistently at EverBank Field the past two months.
Asked the main focus of his offseason, Bowanko replied, "Pure strength."
"That's something you have to work at, and you have to do it every day," Bowanko said. "You have to be able to provide yourself the right nutrition and take your time and make sure you're eating all your meals. You can't skip them, just work out and expect to get bigger.
"It's a lot that goes into it – a lot of little things – but it's something I pride myself on."
Also on Wednesday:
*Bowanko discussed the addition of assistant head coach-offense/offensive line coach Doug Marrone, who joined the Jaguars after two seasons as the Buffalo Bills' head coach. "He's a very knowledgeable coach," Bowanko said. "He's coached the best and been in a lot of different roles. We're excited to just soak in all he has to offer. It can only make us better as a unit, so we're excited." …
*Bowanko said upon reviewing his rookie season he liked a lot of what he saw – and that what he saw gives him confidence moving forward. "There are flashes that help you come back to work the next day," he said. "It's such a growing process and you're always fighting go get that inch better. Hopefully, you're just able to grow and improve on those areas." …