The League

Desmond Bieler
Occasional Blogger, Constant Blowhard

Desmond Bieler

An assistant news editor at The Washington Post

Buffalo at Jacksonville, Week 2


Sunday, 1 p.m.

The Jaguars have a big problem. A popular pick before the season to dethrone the Colts atop the AFC South, they got off to a rough start in Week 1, losing to the division rival Titans. But that's not the big problem. In Week 2, they face the Bills and ex-Jag Marcus Stroud. That's the big problem -- a 6-foot-6, 310-pound problem, to be precise.

Stroud spent the first seven years of his career making life hard for ballcarriers who faced Jacksonville. But injuries limited him to only 20 games played the past two seasons, and the Jags, figuring Stroud was on the downside of his career, shipped him to Buffalo for a pair of draft picks. Last week against Seattle, Stroud showed plenty of upside, accounting for six tackles and half of a sack and helping hold the Seahawks to 252 net yards. Now he returns to Jacksonville for some payback, and guess what? The Jags' offensive line just happens to be in a shambles.

Jacksonville lost not one, but two starting guards last week. Vince Manuwai tore two cruciate ligaments and is done, while his right-side counterpart Maurice Williams ruptured his right biceps and is out for quite a while, if not the rest of the season. This after a biceps injury to center Brad Meester in training camp, which has him on the sidelines for several more weeks. In other words, the middle of the Jags' line looks about as rock-solid as the middle of Refrigerator Perry's physique. That licking sound you hear? It's coming from Stroud's chops.

Last week against Tennessee, Jacksonville's heralded running back duo of Fred Taylor and Maurice Jones-Drew was held to only 31 yards rushing on 14 carries. Quarterback David Garrard was sacked seven times. At around the same time, Stroud and Co. were parking Matt Hasselbeck on the turf five times and holding Seattle's runners in check until garbage time. With the Jags bringing in every guy off the street short of the Fridge, and Stroud only too eager to collapse the middle, the Jags could find it tough sledding against Buffalo. Like toboggan-down-Mauna-Loa-tough sledding. If Jacksonville can't get its run-based offense going, it could suddenly find itself in an 0-2 hole. And that would be a big problem.

By Desmond Bieler  |  September 11, 2008; 8:00 AM ET  | Category:  Post Gameday Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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