Wednesday, September 30, 2020

Jawaan Taylor, Doug Marrone Reflect On the Tackle's Year 2 Growth



18 hours ago


“I feel like I’m progressing well from last year onto now. I look forward to getting better. I’m nowhere near where I want to be yet.”

That’s how Jacksonville Jaguars offensive lineman Jawaan Taylor described his growth in pass protection. The second year, former second rounder has played every snap through the Jags (1-2) first three games. 

Through those three games—while giving quarterback Gardner Minshew II time to throw himself into the league’s Top 5 in various passing categories the first two weeks and help running back James Robinson become a household name—Taylor has seen areas he’s made improvements from his rookie season to his second year…but he’s also area’s that still need work.

For starters, penalties. Taylor was the second most penalized player in the league in 2019, drawing flags 15 times (second only to Laremy Tunsil). Taylor also had the fifth most amount of penalty yardage in the league his rookie season with 120 yards.

Through three games thus far this season, Taylor statistically has no penalties. He’s drawn has one, for offensive holding, and it was declined.

“[In] year two, I feel like [I’m] just trying to be more consistent with my play, especially like [with] penalties [and] different things like that I was going through early on last season. That’s just things that I want to sharpen up on, being more professional, so that’s mainly my thing right now. [I’m] just trying to play more consistent and help my team win games.”

That consistency is the primary thing coaches are asking for from their right tackle—who used his strength to pull in a massive catch this offseason. 

His talent has always been there, as Head Coach Doug Marrone explains, but the key was learning how to combine that raw talent with a game plan and be productive for 60 whole minutes.

“[Jawann’s] still a young football player,” says Marrone.

“I mean, you’re going to see growth. I think overall there’s times that he’s really looked good and the whole O-Line has looked good. But sometimes during the course of a game, when the games have gotten to a point where we’re just throwing and you get beat inside, or you get beat around the horn, you know, things like that. So, the consistency of being able to go out for 60-something plays, run and pass and win on all of them, it’s something that’s really striving for. And I think Jawaan has worked extremely hard to do that, along with the rest of those guys.

“So, I still think there’s a lot left, I still think that he’s going to really keep improving as the season goes along. And I think he’s going to improve over the course of the year. I think he’s a second-year player. I thought for a first-year player playing tackle, I thought he did a very good job. And then, this year, there’s an expectation of him to take a step up and I think, at times, we’ve seen that and now we’re looking for the consistency in him.”

As that consistency has been developed, the line—anchored by Taylor on the right side—has opened holes for the running back unit led by James Robinson. The rookie has been most productive straight up the middle, but he—along with Gardner Minshew, Laviska Shenault and Chris Thompson—have picked up 82 yards running off the right side of the line. Taylor has given up one sack through three games as the Jaguars and Minshew open up the passing game.

If you ask Taylor, it’s Offensive Line Coach George Warhop that deserves credit for any and all progress.

“Coach Warhop plays a great part in the offensive line’s play and everything that we do. He’s an amazing coach. I learned a lot from him since the first day I came on this team, so I look forward to the things we’re going to do leading up to the rest of the season. We’re definitely dialing into what he’s coaching us and everything he wants us to do because he knows what he’s doing. He’s been a coach in this league for over 20 years now, so he’s coached some of the best players that played these games. We look forward to seeing what we can do the rest of the year.”

The rest of the year picks up on Sunday as the Jags travel to Cincinnati to take on the 0-2-1 Bengals, led by overall No. 1 pick Joe Burrow. The Begnals defense has given up the ninth most yards in the NFL through three games.

“We always look at it as 0-0 mentality and just keep pushing forward, so that’s mainly what we like to do and how we go about our business here,” says Taylor of the matchup.

“[We’re] definitely trying to win these next two games, like you said, that’s the main focus right now. Cincinnati’s on the clock, so we’re just going to go out there and try to have a good week of practice and get prepared and go out there and get a win.”

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