How much can we figure out from 8 quarters of football this preseason? Maybe not too much, but the old-fashioned eye test can decide quite a bit. This Jaguars team can be perplexing at times, but all arrows point up from what I've seen so far.
The starting QB position is Garrard's to lose. It was apparent in the Atlanta game that Garrard is trying so, so hard to make plays. He knows the pressure on him. But his accuracy shined through the precious little snaps he was on the field. Gabbert took a step back the second game, looking a little bit off-key at times. Sometimes it seemed that he was aiming the ball, rather than comfortably hitting his spots. For now, this job is Garrard's. He should take advantage of the time he has to make that clear.
The tradition of great depth at running back continues for the Jaguars. Rashad Jennings and Deji Karim are terrific in their roles, Karim shining as a kick returner. Richard Murphy and DuJuan Harris are fighting hard to make this team and making their cases.
Though I was a doubter, the receivers look manageable. Mike Thomas is consistent. Jason Hill seems to be improving weekly. I like what I saw from Cecil Shorts prior to the injury; he's a great route-runner that makes passing to him easy. The usual case of the drops from Tiquan Underwood makes him a usual candidate for being cut.
The offensive line is still perplexing. One game they'll be good bulldozing would-be-tacklers in the running game, the next providing great pass protection. But, never both. Depth is still a concern, and Eben Britton's lingering injury is definitely one to be concerned about.
The defense is already better, and will continue to improve. Yes, there are some plays that leave you saying, "How does that happen?" but overall this defense is better. The pass rush is there, with Jeremy Mincey dipping that shoulder like a madman to reach the quarterback, and he's doing it successfully. No sacks yet, but plenty of nice plays, forced throws, and qb hurries. The secondary looks better, but Drew Coleman's non-existent coverage at times leaves much to desire. The safeties are playing better, and the linebackers are swarming the ball wherever it is. I'm going to stick with my bold prediction from earlier in the month and say the team will be a top 15 defense, which isn't too much to ask for.
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