Taylor: Jaguars’ Mitch Morse ‘confident in who he is, what he’s done’

Doug Pederson praised Jaguars free agent center signee Mitch Morse shortly after signing in March for his abilities as an NFL offensive lineman and the veteran leadership he’d provide to Jacksonville’s front five.

While pads have yet to be put on as the Jaguars conduct voluntary offseason team activities (OTAs), making the former compliment hard to gauge, Morse has thus far lived up to the latter billing in the eyes of Jacksonville offensive coordinator Press Taylor.

The nine-year pro has acted as a strong example for other linemen in positional and team meetings, ensuring he captures and understands every detail issued by his new coaching staff.

“This is a guy that’s very confident in who he is, what he’s done,” Taylor described Morse. “You see it show up the way he handled himself in the huddle and the meeting room. He’s not afraid to speak up and ask questions.

“Some young guys that are new to a system are probably going to wait until a meeting ends and go grab a coach on the side, ‘Hey, you said this; what did you mean by that?’ Mitch will stop a meeting and make sure he’s on the same page of what the coach is expecting.”

That being said, Taylor noted, Morse has had no issue learning the Jaguars’ offensive system.

It likely helps that Morse’s offensive coordinator during his rookie season with Kansas City in 2015 was Pederson, to whom Taylor is a coaching disciple, before Pederson received his first NFL head coaching opportunity with Philadelphia.

“Football hasn’t really changed over the course of many years, but each offense has their own language. It’s how quickly can we get everybody on-boarded with our language. ‘What does it sound like for us? When you say this, what does this mean?’ ” Taylor explained. “Mitch has done a great job getting himself up to speed with that.”

Morse was the most significant addition to Jacksonville’s offensive line this offseason after the team finished with 59.6 pass-blocking and 40.6 run-blocking grades during the 2023 regular season, ranking No. 21 and No. 31 in the NFL in those respective categories, per Pro Football Focus.

Morse earned 63.7 run-blocking and 71.7 pass-blocking marks from PFF in 2023. Over 126 career appearances, each of which he’s started, Morse has allowed just 11 sacks.

He appears poised to take over as Jacksonville’s starting center this season, replacing the team’s 2022 third-round selection in the NFL draft, Luke Fortner, who posted 40.0 run-blocking and 54.9 pass-blocking grades last year. He allowed four sacks in 2023.

Otherwise, the Jaguars’ offensive line is largely expected to look the same in 2024 as the unit of 2023.

Seven-year Jaguars left tackle Cam Robinson returns after missing eight games over two chunks of the 2023 campaign due to suspension and injury, while Anton Harrison looks to build upon a strong rookie campaign at right tackle entering his second pro season.

At guard, Ezra Cleveland enters his first full season with Jacksonville on the left side after his midseason trade acquisition from Minnesota last year. Brandon Scherff returns for his third season with the Jaguars, on a restructured contract, and his 10th year in the NFL on the right.

Taylor suggested there will be room for position battles along the front when pads come on later in the offseason program. But for now, the unit is tasked with absorbing coaching points and developing camaraderie within the scheme. Morse is serving as a critical part of that process.

“We’re trying to create an identity of who we envision ourselves being within the scheme. It’s tougher to have position battles when things aren’t very physical,” Taylor said.

“Right now, you’re looking for understanding, the details, looking for some urgency. But that physical piece is the element that misses throughout the offseason that we’re trying to take our time with as we move forward. You’ll get a little bit more preview of that through training camp, obviously preseason games as these things continue on.”

Story originally appeared on Jaguars Wire