It's difficult to compare last year's Jaguars team with this year's.
Through the first week of the preseason, the defense looks better at the top and has enough depth to cut guys that would have contributed last season. The offense will be quarterbacked by the same guy, but Chad Henne is looking over his shoulder at a player in Blake Bortles who clearly outplayed him against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
But with all their differences, head coaches like to approach specific weeks in the preseason in specific ways.
By and large, Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley followed his script from 2013 in last week's preseason opener. His starting quarterback received a few more snaps this year as compared to last year, but he held his starting running back and wide receivers out and played his starting defense for a little less than a full quarter.
We're going to see more Chad Henne
In Week 1 of the 2013 preseason, Bradley let then-starter have 17 snaps, with 10 passing plays called. Compare that with 28 plays in Week 2, with 16 passing plays called. Granted, Gabbert converted more third downs and constructed longer drives in Week 2, but Bradley still held his starter in until the final minutes of the first half.
If last year's formula holds true, expect to see Henne in for most (if not all) of the first half.
Blake Bortles will start the second half
Then-starter Blaine Gabbert got all but 5:34 of the first half to run the Jaguars offense. Like last year, I suspect Henne will get the entire first half to himself and Blake Bortles will play with the backups in the third quarter, and possibly into the fourth if his last series spills over.
Toby Gerhart should make an appearance
In 2013, Bradley held then-starter Maurice Jones-Drew out of the preseason opener, but then played him for the first drive of Week 2 against the New York Jets. I believe Bradley goes with the same methodology on Thursday night against the Bears, except Gerhart might get more than the four touches Jones-Drew had in 2013.
I'd expect two series, and probably six or seven touches for Gerhart.
Gus Bradley will favor the run
During Week 1's blowout against the Miami Dolphins last year, Bradley opted to let backup quarterbacks Matt Scott and Mike Kafka air it out with 21 pass attempts as they tried to put some points on the board. (SPOILER ALERT: They didn't.) In Week 2, the Jaguars faced a similar situation, and Bradley stuck to the run, only allowing seven pass attempts in the fourth quarter from backups.
Like 2013, third-string quarterback Ricky Stanzi will probably come in at the top of the fourth quarter and play all but the last series of the game, with fourth-stringer Stephen Morris getting one pass attempt in the waning seconds of the game.
Our first-team defense will play most of the second quarter
Last year, Bradley had a young secondary that needed reps together, so he kept them out there until the middle of the second quarter while pulling starters at defensive line and linebacker. This year, it's a bit different -- the secondary is used to one another, but it's the defensive line that needs reps.
I wouldn't be surprised to see linebackers and secondary pulled, with starters along the line given an extra series to practice rotation and game situations.