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Thursday, September 1, 2011
Protection an issue for Jaguars starting line

By Paul Kuharsky

With the season opener against the Titans looming, the Jacksonville Jaguars have protection issues to go with questions about their quarterback pecking order.

David Garrard was under fire in Thursday night’s 24-17 preseason loss to St. Louis. Of particular concern was the offensive line’s play, as left tackle Eugene Monroe and left guard Will Rackley were ineffective in pass protection.

Garrard did not have a good preseason. While Jack Del Rio is on record as expecting Garrard to be his starter, he once cut his starter nine days before the season commenced in order to give Garrard the job, which leads to a bit of doubt.

Veteran backup Luke McCown -- not Blaine Gabbert, the No. 10 pick from the April draft --  worked as the second quarterback. Broadcaster Tony Boselli said Del Rio told him in production meetings that McCown would operate as the backup to start the regular season as well.

I’m not certain I understand that. The Jaguars don’t want to rush Gabbert, but they shouldn’t be doing too much to slow him down, either.

Perhaps at this stage, Del Rio and his staff are so wary of the protection, they want to keep their future quarterback as far from harm as possible.