Brad Meester is somewhat of a symbol of the Jaguars' 2000 season. In the early-season games, Meester was not good. Now, he's playing his best football of the season.
"Indianapolis was a tough game for me," the Jaguars
second-round draft choice said. "I had to work on my pass-sets in the beginning."
Meester was somewhat of a surprise draft choice for the Jaguars. It was no surprise the Jaguars drafted an offensive lineman high. The surprise was that it was Meester, a relative unknown from Northern Iowa.
Most expected the Jaguars would go for Tennessee's Cosey Coleman or USC's Travis Claridge in the first round. Instead, the Jaguars selected wide receiver R. Jay Soward, a luxury afforded to them because they had earmarked Meester as their pick in the second.
Immediately, he was thrust into the starting lineup, where there was a gaping hole at left guard, the result of free-agency defections by Ben Coleman and Rich Tylski. Development time would have to come quickly for Meester.
To that end, Meester's development lasted about half a season. That's when he stopped playing like a star-struck rookie.
"The last few games have been a lot better. The Pittsburgh game was a big game," Meester said of a win in Pittsburgh in which running back Fred Taylor set an all-time record for Steelers opponents with 234 yards rushing.
"I knew it was going to be difficult," said Meester, who was singled out as a major factor in the early-season failures of the Jaguars offensive line. "I have to give everything I've got; leave it all on the field. The thing I kept telling myself is I can be satisfied with where I am. I have to get better."
Meester is only three games away from becoming only the third Jaguars player in history to have started every game of his rookie season. Brian DeMarco did it at right tackle in 1995, and cornerback Fernando Bryant did it last season.
"This offseason is very important to me. I've seen myself progress and I want to start next year ready to go," Meester said.