The Jacksonville Jaguars are hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers tonight in their preseason opener. Coaches and front office decision-makers won't be looking at the scoreboard as much as they are individual matchups, the success of certain down-and-distance scenarios, how well the offense or defense can pick up schemes or plays, and more.
We asked the Big Cat Country team what they thought "success" would look like at the end of tonight's game. Here are their answers.
I want to see the offense have at least a drive it moves into the red zone from the first team offense. A big play here or there would be nice and welcomed, but I really want to see a sustained drive. On the defensive side, I want to see how the safeties play and if there's gaps in coverage. I'd also like to see where the pass rush will come from, given who's out.
Red zone scoring, especially with Blake Bortles as quarterback. I want to see that this is an improved offense inside the 20-yard line. We've improved our offensive line, we signed the best free agent tight end in football, and the wide receivers have gotten a year older. I want to see better scoring in the red zone tonight against the Steelers.
Something as simple as a sustainable drive from the first team offense. It seemed like when those game last year, we had to cherish them in awe because they were so few and far between. Establishing some sort of run game and being able to pick up first downs and create a rhythm would be a great start. On defense, seeing something as simple as communication between the entire group of defensive backs would be big as well.
Let's see some immediate success in the run game. The starters won't receive very much playing time, so I'm looking for the offense to jumpstart the run game within the first two drives. On defense, I want to see the corners playing consistently. We know what the defensive line is capable of, for the most part. Let's see Colvin take command of his inside and outside duties, and let's see Davon House lock down Pittsburgh's physical receivers -- something he was praised for in Green Bay.
Third-down efficiency. The Jaguars ranked 29th in the league last year on third down, getting the first/scoring on 31.9% of the team's attempts. Jacksonville needs to be more successful on third downs, and with weapons like Allen Robinson and Julius Thomas in the passing game, and Denard Robinson and Toby Gerhart as third-down running backs, there's no reason why the Jaguars shouldn't be successful on third down.