|Title||Just how much better is A.J. Cann playing?|
|Description||Move over Jacksonville Jaguars Hats , Leonardo — there’s a new renaissance man and he happens to be plying his trade in Duval County.Viewed by fans as a potential weak link in the Jacksonville Jaguars’ blocking armor heading into the season, fourth-year right guard AJ Cann has been a pleasant surprise. Jeff Lageman even went so far as to say that he outperformed first-team All-Pro teammate Andrew Norwell (who played very well) on his “Check the Tape Tuesday” appearance on the Jaguars Today radio program this morning.It has been well documented to this point that the impetus for Cann’s vastly improved technique is the NFL’s new emphasis on the helmet rule. Simply not dropping his head and keeping his eyes on his target with perpendicular positioning from the ground has largely rectified Cann’s previous balance issues and has mitigated his habit of blindly thrusting his upper body at defenders. Add these adjustments to an augmented offseason dedication (Cann has been training with teammates Cam Robinson and Jermey Parnell at offensive lineman guru Duke Manyweather’s training facility in Forth Worth, Texas), and you don’t just have a better player.You have a brand new player.Enough heaping of praise, let’s see examples of Cann’s new-and-improved technique.Pass blockingYou’ll often hear the term “anchor” with offensive linemen, and it’s something Cann was inconsistent with thus far in his career. When Cann would drop his head, it caused his shoulders and his momentum to move forward, and all of a sudden, he was bending at his waist rather than with his knees. Another pass blocking facet that Cann has seemingly improved is his “mirroring” ability, which stems from good footwork to get his body ahead of the rush move and maintain balance. Cann had a habit of getting his feet stuck in the mud last season, and so far in 2018, he seems much lighter on his feet, allowing him to absorb more bull rushes and smother power-to-speed stacks.Run blockingCann had a poor 56.2 PFF grade as a run blocker last season, and a big issue for his ineffectiveness was his inability to drive his legs and create ample push to reach and create a seal for the runner. Cann was also not extending his hands and relying too much on his strength and size rather than technique. By timing his strike better and utilizing his core and and quads to create push off the snap to maintain leverage and seal off rush lanes, this should create more room for the ball carrier this season.Second levelIf the Jaguars want to generate more explosive plays, whether in the run game or manufactured through screen passes, Cann must be more adept at matriculating into the second level to neutralize opposing linebackers. There is no second level, however Jacksonville Jaguars Womens Hoodie , if the runner can’t get past the first level, and too often last season Cann failed to make deliberate contact with the lineman immediately across from him. This allowed the defender to suffocate space into the backfield and essentially take away the ability for the runner to use his vision. If Cann sufficiently punches and advances with urgency this season, Leonard Fournette should greatly increase his 3.9 yards per carry average.For Cann, a renewed commitment to the game comes at a perfect time in his career. Entering the final year of his rookie deal, there is no doubt that Cann’s ears perked upon the announcement of Patriots right guard Shaq Mason’s new contract extension (five years and $50 million). While Cann isn’t exactly broke — he’s earning a $1.9 million base salary in 2018 per Spotrac — a potential raise to $10 million per year is certainly an intriguing carrot in a healthy financial garden for interior offensive lineman. Mason is a very good player, but a strong 2018 campaign from Cann could garner enough momentum to drive into Mason’s financial neighborhood. When you add Cann’s impressive availability — he started 51 games in four years at South Carolina and 44 games in three years with Jacksonville — he becomes an even hotter commodity.It’s only three games in preseason, I know, but if Cann can play in even the same stratosphere of Andrew Norwell and Brandon Linder on the interior, this run game can absolutely take off in 2018.If it does, Leonard Fournette may need to splurge on something a little more extravagant than Louis Vuitton bags after this season.Grade the 2018 Jacksonville Jaguars: How did the offense do in the first quarter? As the Jacksonville Jaguars get ready to take on the Kansas City Chiefs, let’s take a look back at how they got here.We’ll be grading the offense, defense, and special teams separately through the week and up first — the offense!Alfie Crow (@AlfieBCC)The Jaguars offense has been an up and down affair and has been missing some pieces, but through the first four games of the season I think it’s been OK. The Titans always give the Jaguars offense fits, because they play a type of game that drags teams down into the mud and fights them. To beat that, you need consistency at quarterback and well... That’s just not Blake. Conversely, the Jaguars have had two games where their offense was just straight up electric. I think the truth is somewhere between the Jets game and the Giants game, but overall it’s been pretty solid and the offensive line Womens Customized Jacksonville Jaguars Jerseys , even with the injuries, has been fantastic.Grade: BRyan Day (@ryaneatscake)The offense runs through the quarterback no matter what the team tries to do in the run game. Leonard Fournette has missed a little more than three games of total playing time, leaving before halftime in Weeks 1 and 4 and missing the two games in between entirely. As Blake Bortles goes, so does this offense, which has looked good two weeks, meh one week, and awful another. That’s good enough to get to 3-1 but it’ll need some consistency as we go into the second quarter of the year. I’ve got them between a C+ and a B- and I’ll give them the edge because they beat Tom Brady and that was fun to watch.Grade: B-Jon Kirland (@BCBCouch)The offensive line has been solid and on pace to allow only 24 sacks this season. T.J. Yeldon has been better than expected, when healthy, in filling in for Leonard Fournette, the young receiver trio is coming along, and the unsung hero in my opinion has been Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who has become a younger Marcedes Lewis, somewhat unexpectedly. Bortles has really only had one awful game (Tennessee), one average at best game (Giants), and two jaw-dropping games (Patriots and Jets). In my opinion, two solid A games boost them up, but an F versus the Titans that may haunt them in December, drags them down here.Grade: C+Ryan O’Bleness (@ryanobleness)The offense has had two very strong games and two games that left a lot to be desired. The offensive explosions against the New York Jets and New England Patriots were a lot of fun to watch www.jaguarscheapshop.com , and I think it makes it obvious that the success of the offense hinges on the play of Blake Bortles — especially with Leonard Fournette sidelined. T.J. Yeldon has stepped up and done an admiral job filling in for Fournette, but I still think the offense is much stronger with a fully healthy Fournette in the backfield. The problem is that the offense will remain as inconsistent as Bortles plays. That said, this team could be unstoppable if Bortles is able to put it all together throughout the season like he did this past Sunday. Grade: BBrian Fullford (@iambwf)I may be a bit more optimistic than my fellow writers. Two games at “A”, one at “F”, and one at “C” quality do not tell the whole story. Amidst injuries the offensive line has protected Blake and opened running lanes. The receiving corps has looked young but are making big plays. Leonard Fournette’s injury exploits a depth problem at running back, but T.J. Yeldon has stepped up as a multi-dimensional asset. Blake is Blake, and we’ll rise and fall on his confidence waves all season. Still, he’s climbing the pocket and making the throws with greater consistency earlier in the season than we have seen in the past.They key for me is the ability of the coaches to adapt to personnel and competition, and for the most part they have optimized what they have. They are letting Blake throw the ball more, which surely helps a Yeldon in the running game.All that said, the inability to beat the Titans is inexcusable and it’s only for my mercy that this isn’t a “C-”. On top of that, seven turnovers isn’t a confidence boost. This unit must string together some consistency.Grade: C+Filip Prus (@JaxonFil)The Jaguars offense has been hot and cold throughout the first four weeks of the season. On any given week, Blake Bortles has struggled to hit an open receiver from six yards out to surpassing a career high in passing yards to not being able. It may be a little unfair due to their franchise fulcrum Leonard Fournette not being available, but his absence has allowed Nathaniel Hackett to flourish for three out of the four games with out-of-the-box play calling and high percentage route running to manufacture the run game with screens and crossers. Statistically, they currently rank 15th in yards per game and are tied for the fifth-most giveaways with seven.Grade: C+|
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