2015 offseason kickoff: Wisniewski plans to start
C Stefen Wisniewski on joining Jaguars as unrestricted free agent: “I have been a starter since I’ve been in this league, and I expect to continue to be one”
The recently-signed unrestricted free agent center won’t likely be available until training camp. But he said on Tuesday that come August he expects to compete, and that he expects to play a key role.
And yes, he expects to be in the starting lineup when the regular season begins.
“My plan is to be a starter,” Wisniewski said Tuesday, the first day of the Jaguars’ 2015 voluntary offseason program. “I think the coaches might say they want me to compete. I have been a starter since I’ve been in this league and I expect to continue to be one.
“If I have to compete to get there that is fine … however that works out.”
Wisniewski, who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent on Saturday, played the past four seasons with the Oakland Raiders and started the last three seasons at center after starting 15 games at guard as a rookie. He has started 61 games in four NFL seasons.
Wisniewski, a second-round selection by Oakland in the 2011 NFL Draft, is expected to compete with center Luke Bowanko, who started 14 games as a rookie this past season. He also could get work at guard position, with Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell saying upon announcing the signing Saturday that Wisniewski provided the Jaguars “position flexibility.”
“I’ve played both and I feel comfortable at both,” Wisniewski said. “I definitely like some aspects of center. I kind of like making all of the calls and seeing everything. It is kind of fun. I have kind of always been a nerd, to be honest. In school, going back to high school and college, the intellectual side of football is what I enjoy, which is prevalent at the center position, not so much at the guard.”
Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley on Tuesday said he liked Wisniewski’s overall temperament.
“First of all, I like his leadership,” Bradley said. “I think his knowledge of our offense is a good thing. I think he brings flexibility.”
Bradley lauded Wisniewski’s ability to make calls at the line of scrimmage, something he did the past two seasons playing for then-Raiders offensive coordinator Greg Olson, now the coordinator in Jacksonville.
“He ran the show for the offensive line last year for Oakland,” Bradley said. “He made all of the calls and made all of the adjustments. I think that brings great value.”
Wisniewski underwent surgery in January to repair a torn labrum. That injury occurred in a game against the San Diego Chargers November 16, but Wisniewski opted to play through the injury and delay the surgery.
“I could tell right after the game something was wrong,” he said. “I got an MRI and something was torn. I went back and forth on whether I should keep playing or not with it but decided I wanted to play on it and I still thought I played at a high level with it. I didn’t miss a practice, didn’t miss a game and got it fixed up after the season.”
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