While reports suggested the New York Giants would be the favorites to land top free agent guard Andrew Norwell, it was the Jacksonville Jaguars who ultimately secured his services. He didn’t come cheap, with the Jaguars giving him a five-year, $66.5 million deal with $30 million guaranteed to make him the highest-paid guard in the history of the NFL. However, Norwell is a great fit for what the Jaguars run on offense.
Norwell is very much a mauler in terms of his play style. He has a huge frame at 6-foot-6, 325 pounds that is more in line with a typical offensive tackle’s frame than that of a guard. But Norwell plays inside and has a nasty streak to his game.
On this play, Norwell aligns at left guard and has a defensive tackle lined up over his inside shoulder. His job on this run is simply to block down on that defensive tackle and pin him inside.
Norwell gets a little help from his left tackle, who gives him a push for added momentum. But Norwell makes the most of that, taking the defensive tackle and driving him completely out of the play. He shows his nasty streak, too, fully finishing the block to the ground.
His physical style and desire to finish blocks shows up in his pass protection, as well.
At left guard again, Norwell cuts off the defensive tackle trying to work across his face into the A gap. The tackle then attempts to bull rush Norwell back into the quarterback, but Norwell gets his hands inside and takes over the block, driving the tackle to the ground and giving his quarterback plenty of time to throw.
The Jaguars ask a lot of their guards, particularly in the run game. They run lots of different schemes, from wide zone to power to pin-and-pull runs.
Here, the Jaguars run a power play to the left. The left guard is tasked with helping the left tackle on a double team to secure the defensive end and then working up to pick up the linebacker. Meanwhile, the right guard pulls around to the left side to lead the way for running back Leonard Fournette.
The left guard does a terrific job helping the tackle secure the defensive end with a strong punch and then quickly moves over to pick up the linebacker filling in the A gap. The right guard’s pull kicks out the free defender, opening up a big lane for Fournette to burst through on his way to a 90-yard touchdown.
Norwell is capable of playing the role of either guard here, which makes him a valuable addition to the Jaguars’ run game and offensive line in general. With Blake Bortles at quarterback, the Jaguars are likely to lean heavily on Fournette and the running game to sustain their offense. Adding Norwell to the trenches will help them build their offensive foundation through running the ball.
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