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Preseason Week Two Standouts

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A look at the top performers in the Jaguar's 20-19 loss to the Bears.

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports

The Offense

Blake Bortles

He's a lot of fun to watch, isn't he? 11-17 for 160 yards says a lot, but again it's the way he did it that was really impressive. Almost every throw was right on the money. The most impressive even came on an incomplete pass where he rolled out and fired a bullet along the right sideline. Chad Henne had a good performance in the first half, but it was aided by a couple of penalties that kept drives going on third downs. Going forward if Bortles can keep it up against the starters next week it will be hard to keep him off the field week one.

Marcedes Lewis

3 targets, 3 catches, 46 yards. Lewis didn't get too many looks but he showed he might be able to play up to that large contract he got. He has enough ability to be a big security blanket for whoever starts at Quarterback week one. He was solid in the run game.

Brandon Linder

Another familiar face from last week, Linder has all but locked up a starting spot at this point. Poor performances by Mike Brewster and Jacques McClendon helped his case, but he has shown to be a solid contributor through the first two weeks. Unless something drastic happens I fully expect Linder to get the start week one.

The Defense

Ziggy Hood

There were doubts about the contract given to Hood,and through the first part of training camp those doubts seemed justified. The former first round pick under performed in Pittsburgh and it was thought that a return to 4-3 defensive tackle would help his career. Its only preseason, but it appears that the Jaguars made the right call. He was solid against the Bucs and built on that for a great game against the Bears. He doesn't appear on the stat sheet but that's due to penalties wiping out his big plays, namely a sack in the third quarter. If he keeps this up then the already strong D-Line just got a little bit better.

Dwayne Gratz

While I would say he was around average in pass coverage last week, he showed really good tackling instincts throughout the game. He stepped up well on outside runs and screen passes and kept the bears to minimal games. In coverage he had a couple penalties but both of them seemed to be a little too influenced by the "new points of emphasis." Gratz can improve in coverage, but he has shown enough other than that to prove to be a solid player.

Kick-Off Coverage Team

Not quite the defense but they did well enough to deserve a mention. In six return attempts the Bear's got the ball to the 20 yard line once, and that ended with a fumble forced and recovered by Will Blackmon. The team covered every return well which bodes well for the special teams play for the rest of the year. A defense looking as good as ours combined with teams starting with poor field position will be very beneficial to the team this year.