Heavy Questions For OL Vince Manuwai of the Jacksonville Jaguars

Jack HarverCorrespondent IIJune 5, 2009

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 17: Vince Manuwai #67 of the Jacksonville Jaguars walks on the field before the game against the Tennessee Titans on December 17, 2006 at LP Field in Nashville, Tennessee.  The Titans won 24-17.  (Photo by Brian Bahr/Getty Images)

Standing 6'2" and weighing 336 pounds, you'd figure Jacksonville's Vince Manuwai would be hard to miss.

But Jaguars fans only seem to have taken notice of him in his absence this past season. The ground game fell off sharply from second best in the NFL in 2007 to the middle of the pack in 2008 after Manuwai tore his ACL in the first quarter of the season opener against Tennessee.

The Jaguars have to be eager to get this big, road-grading lineman back in the starting lineup and, given the chance to interview anyone on their roster, I'd be hard-pressed to find someone more crucial for their success in the coming season than Manuwai.


How's your knee?

Straight to the biggest question. Forget Tom Brady, this is the rehab situation I've been following since September.


Coming into last season, there was talk that you were on track for an invitation  to the Pro Bowl.  Did you hear much about that?

I'm interested in what players in general think about the Pro Bowl, but especially linemen. The same few seem to get fan votes based on name recognition, and I'd argue that familiarity clouds the judgment of some players and coaches as well. 

To have a shot at breaking into that elite group seems like it'd be a big deal. Some sources in and around the Jaguars organization believed Manuwai had a legitimate chance last year.

This question could go in an interesting direction. 

He could talk about the honor of being recognized by his peers and/or the fans, which would be a reasonable response. But Manuwai is a Hawaii native, having played his high school ball at Farrington H.S. on Oahu. I'm sure he'd love to have an All-Star homecoming—except the 2010 game will be played in Miami.


What did you think of the league's decision to move next year's Pro Bowl from Hawaii?

The people and public figures of Hawaii have expressed their appreciation for the league's annual all-star game, as well as their consternation at the decision to hold it elsewhere in 2010. 

I'd like to get a player's take on the situation—what the game means to the state, whether it was something that made an impression on him as a young football player, and so on.


What do you think the offensive line needs to do as a unit to play at a high level this year after disappointing last year?

I'm sure the Jaguars' linemen have heard plenty about the team's offensive failures being ultimately their fault. What I want to get at is how Manuwai saw the line from the sideline—what weaknesses did he see and where does he think they can improve?


This year's line features some big changes from last season: a few high draft picks, a big-time veteran signing and you and Mo Williams coming back from injuries.  How's that working out in practice and with next season in mind?


Coaches love a crowd on the depth chart anywhere other than at quarterback, and some players thrive on the feeling of having to compete for their job day in and day out. But the cohesion that makes for the best lines doesn't often go hand-in-hand with turmoil in the starting lineup.

Within this question, I'm looking to hear what Manuwai thinks of the rookies Jacksonville's front office brought in, what he thinks are the biggest issues for the Jaguars' line going forward, and how he sees himself fitting in as an elite talent coming back to a shaken unit.


The Titans seem to have taken over as the league's model of a physical team.  Are you looking forward to getting another crack at them this year?

This one's almost an invitation for bulletin board material, but there's a loathing of the Titans among Jaguars fans that's lingered since the 2000 season, when Tennessee accounted for all three of Jacksonville's losses, wrecking a great year. 

So, I'd end with a shout out to the audience—a nod to the rivalry from one of our toughest players looking forward to the coming season.