Entering his second NFL season, former South Carolina OG A.J. Cann is proving to be an important piece on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ offensive line.
As The Florida Times-Union’s Phillip Heilman writes, Cann’s position is one of the only certainties on a line with many question marks:
As the Jaguars prepare for their Week 1 game against Green Bay, they will be sorting out roles (left tackle and left guard), adjusting to a player at a new position (center) and reincorporating a starter who missed most of the offseason due to injury (right tackle).
But at right guard, the coaching staff sees Cann as a building block for the future.
“Going in as a rookie, my confidence wasn’t as high,” Cann told Heilman. “I was nervous at times. Now that my confidence grew throughout the whole season and now that I’ve got a year under my belt, I feel a whole lot better.”
Cann’s coaches see good reason for the former Gamecock’s confidence.
“When you get a year of experience, you hope that you can build off of that,” Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said of Cann. “He has a certain level of maturity about him.”
The team has always seen a bright future for the former third-round pick.
“Certainly, as a coaching staff, when we had our first chance to work him out last spring and see him live, we had those (high) expectations of him,” offensive coordinator Greg Olson said. “We had that high ceiling that we thought he could ascend to. He is a player that is developing into the player that we believed he was when we drafted him.”
At times, Cann might feel like he’s still playing SEC football. In practice, one of his biggest challenges is containing a talented defensive line, including former Florida DL Dante Fowler.
“It’s great having guys of that caliber, that athleticism and talent to practice against each and every day,” Cann said. “You get better every time you go against them.”
Source: Saturday Down South