Brad Meester has seen it all here in Jacksonville. He is the only player on the roster and in team history that can be linked to every head coach the franchise has had, the last time the team was in the playoffs.
Numerous roster moves, many quarterback controversies and he has has opened holes in the offensive line for both Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew.
The center of the struggling Jaguars' team reaches a milestone today when he plays in his 200th game of his career, the longest streak of any player to ever strap on the teal and black. It is also an honor that Meester shares with only 60 other offensive linemen in NFL history.
The Jaguars have dealt with flashy players like Jones-Drew, controversial players like Jerry Porter and dynamic players like Tony Boselli. Meester has proven to be the steadiest of all of them.
Meester and his linemates have turned a corner of sorts the past two weeks - improving on their blocking in the wake of the Jaguars trading Eugene Monroe and losing Luke Joeckel to injury. The circumstances may not have been what offensive line coach and former NFL great George Yarno had hoped for, but the results must impress him, nonetheless.
Sometimes being pressed into something unexpected has the best results of all.
The Jaguars aren’t giving up five and six sacks a game anymore and the running game is seeing more holes to move through. That can all be attributed to Meester and the play of guards Uche Nwaneri and Will Rackley and tackles Cameron Bradfield and Austin Pasztor.
The trend should continue at home against San Diego today.
In other Jaguars news for this game…
Blackmon comes home
While he has been more than impressive on the road, Justin Blackmon will make his first home start this season. The second-year receiver has caught 19 passes for 326 yards so far this season.
If travel counts
Just like the Jaguars have traveled quite a bit in the first half of the season, and will be traveling to London next week, San Diego is making the second of four trips to the east coach of the country today. If records mean anything, the Chargers are 16-25 since 2000 when they have had to travel across country.
Even up the series
San Diego leads the overall head-to-head series 3-2 with the Jaguars. The two wins for the Jaguars, were at home in 2003 and 2007. San Diego won the last contest two years ago 38-14 at EverBank Field.
The Jaguars will have Blackmon and Cecil Shorts in the lineup. Both receivers suffered injuries last week and as of Thursday, we considered questionable to play today.
The team will also have Dwayne Gratz back in the fold at cornerback after missing the last month with a high ankle sprain. Jonathan Cyprien was also listed as questionable, but will start in his familiar safety slot.