Garrard's protection shaky in preseason start

August, 18, 2009
8/18/09
1:01
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

I watched the early part of the Jaguars' 12-9 loss in Miami Monday night looking for what jumped out, and one predominant theme wasn't hard to find at the start.

New general manager Gene Smith wants to build inside out and considers the lines the foundation, The Jaguars offensive line has gotten healthy and been reinforced with two high draft picks, tackle Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton. But the initial performance of the starters was not good.

The starting offensive line included Uche Nwaneri at left guard, not the scratched Vince Manuwai, as well as Tra Thomas at left tackle and Tony Pashos at right tackle. The group got pushed back by Miami's top defensive linemen, who also had some blitz help.

Randy Starks beat Nwaneri and hit quarterback David Garrard low on the last play of the Jags' first possession. Garrard limped off after taking the hit. On the second series, fullback Greg Jones stepped over to pick up charging Channing Crowder, but Crowder pushed Jones back into Garrard who threw incomplete before landing hard.

Not long later, under pressure from a blitzing Nate Jones and with Jason Taylor arriving to help bring him down, Garrard tried to flip the ball forward, apparently to Nwaneri, and was lucky it wasn't intercepted by Starks.

In three possessions with Garrard at quarterback, the Jaguars managed just one first down and netted 18 yards. Under fire, he managed just four completions in seven attempts for 22 yards.

The frontline offensive line would appear to have a way to go.

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