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Offensive line laying foundation for future


The offensive line that had been the Jaguars' trouble spot since the start of training camp turned in a performance that paved the way for the highest rushing total in Jaguars history. Is this the Jaguars' line of the future?

"They're getting better every time they play," coach Tom Coughlin said today of his offensive line, which dominated the action against the Steelers Sunday night in Pittsburgh. Behind an offensive line that was makeshift on Oct. 1 when the Steelers held the Jaguars to 26 yards rushing, Fred Taylor ran for a record 234 yards. That's the most in Jaguars history and the most by a Steelers opponent in their 68-year history.

"Tony (Boselli) played very well. He got down lower than he's been," Coughlin said of his star offensive tackle, who began training camp unable to practice because of major knee reconstruction last January. Now, it would seem, Boselli is back to his old self.

"How can you not talk about Jeff Smith?" Coughlin said of the center he acquired off waivers from the Kansas City Chiefs this past summer.

In the first meeting against Pittsburgh, Smith was dominated by nose tackle Kimo von Oelhoffen. Sunday night, Smith had his way with von Oelhoffen.

Certainly, Boselli is as he has always been, the foundation of the Jaguars offensive line. Smith, who replaced John Wade after Wade required surgery to repair his broken foot, may be in the process of establishing himself in that job for next year.

Left guard Brad Meester is no longer being singled out for blown assignments, and right guard Brian Stai, the former Steeler, played his best game as a Jaguar. Meanwhile, right tackle Todd Fordham, who was third on the depth chart behind Leon Searcy and Zach Wiegert, allowed Jason Gildon a sack on the first play of the game, but nothing after that.

Meanwhile, Coughlin said Searcy will not play against Tennessee this Sunday, giving rise to the possibility Searcy will not return this season. Given Searcy's contract with the Jaguars, it's not likely he'll be back next season.

Yes, it's likely the Jaguars are giving us a preview of next year's offensive line.

"Any time you can run the ball against a team like the Steelers; I don't think anyone would think you'd have that kind of yardage," Coughlin said.

No one would've thought that a couple of months ago.

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