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Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Trimmer Pashos ready for position battle

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

While in Jacksonville for some recent OTAs, Tony Pashos was nice enough to sit with me for a few minutes following lunch.

 
  Al Messerschmidt/Getty Images
  Jags tackle Tony Pashos is hoping to improve from last season.
The Jaguars' incumbent right tackle seems like a guy on the hot seat to me, considering the team signed free agent Tra Thomas, drafted tackle Eugene Monroe eighth overall in the first round and drafted Eben Britton 39th overall in the second round.

Pashos, to his credit, started with a candid assessment, saying he could have played a lot better in 2008. He declined to make excuses for it even as we talked about how lines don't mesh as well when they get scrambled by injuries like Jacksonville's did last year.

"My mindset going forward, regardless of who's here and what's going on outside, is how do I get back to playing great football again and being the player that I was in 07, 06, 05 and going forward become a better player," he said.

He said keying on some technique details with offensive line coach Andy Heck and working with new strength coach Luke Richesson have been big developments for him this season.

"It's not as much focused on how much you bench, it's more focused on how good of an athlete and how healthy can you be," Pashos said. "The workouts last a lot longer, it's just different, it's a great changeup for a lot of us. I've always been heavy on how much can I bench and squat by the time the season starts. It's a different changeup for me."

He and his teammates also had blood work done for food allergy tests and learned more about what to eat and what to stay away from. He avoids gluten and casen products, something he started to pick up on from his work with the autistic. That means he steers away from milk products: no ice cream, no shakes, no chocolates and sweets, limited cheese. He's also doing better differentiating good carbs from bad.

He came back from the break to the offseason program at 336 pounds and is now about 320.

"I feel a lot different," he said. "For any athlete, one or two pounds makes a difference. I think going into camp, I'm going to keep busing my tail with Luke and see how much more bad weight I can get off as well as becoming strong as well as more flexible and more athletic and staying healthy."

Jack Del Rio and his staff have to be happy with what Pashos is doing and saying.

How the Jaguars sort out their tackles will be one of their most interesting story lines of training camp.