Probably the best news for Jaguar fans week 1 was the performance of rookie QB Blake Bortles. While going 7/11 for 117 yards is impressive by itself, what really stood out was the way he went about it. Bortles showed good poise in the pocket and showed a willingness to take chances down the field, throwing 4/6 for 90 yards on passes 10+ yards in the air. He seemed to have a good grasp on what he needed to do on each play and was able to fit the ball into tight spots when needed. He did make one mistake on a short pass to Storm Johnson that was nearly picked off, but other than that he has a very good game overall. We need to remember that he played against second and third string defenders, but it's easy to get excited about his future after his first game.
Hurns was given a golden opportunity to compete for a roster spot and seems to have made the most of it. While he only had two catches in the game, both of them were for over 15 yards and displayed his route running and ability to go get the football. The more impressive of the two came on a skinny post where Hurns had to slide to the ground to make the catch. Going forward I expect Hurns to get more looks in the offense and continue to show why he deserves a roster spot.
While not quite a great performance, Linder quietly had a solid game at right guard Friday. He was better in the run game than the pass and had some hiccups along the way, but overall he was one of the brighter spots of the Jaguar's poor interior line play.
While the entire Jaguar's defense played great last Friday, it was Marks who really shone against the Buccaneers. Marks was a significant presence in both the pass and run game, recording two hurries, a forced fumble, and a tackle for little gain up the middle. Outside of these plays Marks was constantly putting pressure on the Buc's interior line and getting great penetration off the snap. It was only the first preseason game, but it already looks like Marks is going to build upon his great season from last year.
Yet another rookie made an impact last Friday in LB Telvin Smith. Smith played most of his reps on second team, but got some first team reps in the nickle package as was expected. On of his biggest strengths is his speed and he showcased it by making plays all over the field and displaying good flow to the football. If he can get more consistent in his tackling and continue to take strides like he has been it will be tough to keep him off the firld.
Instead of signalling out just one player, this next slot goes to the entire starting secondary of the Jaguars. They held Josh McCown and the Buccaneers to just 20 yards on two completions and Winston Guy had a nice interception returned for a touchdown. They also forced McCown into both a scramble and a sack due to excellent coverage.
One of the players that might have been easy to miss was DT DeAndre Coleman. Coleman ended the game three tackles and a pass deflection, but more importantly he did a nice job eating up space on the line of scrimmage. Coleman's main job is to attempt to take up multiple blockers to allow the Linebackers to make plays and he performed well.