Picked in the 2nd round of the 2000 draft, Meester has been a starter for Jacksonville for the past 11 seasons, and in that span, he has only missed 15 games. It’s no secret that Jacksonville has been a highly successful team in terms of run offense, yet somehow, Meester has remained a secret.
During Meester’s time in the league, we’ve seen Kevin Mawae, Tom Nalen, Jeff Saturday and Nick Mangold dominate the AFC’s center position in the Pro Bowl, which has left Meester out of the spotlight.
It’s time to give him some of the respect he deserves. After all these years, he remains in the Jaguars’ starting lineup, and, at the age of 34, he’ll continue to anchor the Jaguars’ line in 2011.
The 2009 season wasn’t the finest of Meester’s carreer. He had a -13.7 run block rating on the season and six straight games with a negative overall rating. This streak began in Week 5 against Seattle where he struggled to stop the interior pass rush of Colin Cole and Brandon Mebane and his worst game in that stretch came against Tennessee. The Titans’ interior linemen rotation and Stephen Tulloch’s superb play got the best of him in the run game and Maurice Jones-Drew gained just five yards up the middle on three carries.
There were six games, however, where Meester had positive overall ratings, and four of those came against division rivals.
Meester wasn’t the only problem on the Jaguars’ 2009 offensive line, but he ranked as the second worst run blocking center in the league. The team apparently felt their defensive line was in worse shape and focused their 2010 draft in that area, which left the O-line mostly unchanged heading into 2010.
Complete 2010 Turn Around
The Jaguars’ 2010 line didn’t do so well as a whole, but Meester saw a 180-degree change in his play. He was on the field for every offensive snap and there were only three games where he had an overall negative rating. In those games, he earned grades of -0.2, -1.1, and -0.1 which, as negative ratings go, weren’t too bad.
Game after game, Meester showed himself to be a consistently positive influence on the Jaguars’ run game, finishing as the NFL’s fourth best run-blocking center.
He got off to a fast start, dominating Jamal Williams in Week 1 and leading the way for Maurice Jones-Drew’s strong day. Still at it in Week 10 against Houston, Meester’s best run blocking was on display, with some particularly good work done in the 2nd quarter.
Despite his age (33), he was clearly the best offensive linemen on the Jaguars’ 2010 roster. Excelling not only in run blocking, Meester was also above average in pass blocking, and had some positive moments on screen plays as well. The only knock on him was that his five penalties were a little high for a center.
Looking ahead to 2011
In 2011, there shouldn’t be any doubt that Meester will once again be the man at center, but beyond the starting five, the Jaguars have very little offensive line depth. This fact should influence their offseason, making that position group a focus of any upgrade efforts.
In the coming years, Meester will hopefully continue anchoring the line and helping to guide a new group. He isn’t getting younger, but with some new blood around him, the Jaguars’ run game could be even more deadly.
Meester deserves more recognition than he gets, but it’s hard when he is the only linemen on the team that’s finding success.