The Jacksonville Jaguars will have their first game at EverBank Field in more than eight months and it's the Tampa Bay Buccaneers coming to town on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. It's the first real live action showing of the 2016 season in Jacksonville.
Last year, the starters played the better part of the first half in Week 2 of the preseason, so it'll be fun to see guys like Blake Bortles get more than seven passes and Dante Fowler get more than 10 snaps. But we'll still get to see some backups late into the third and fourth quarter. This week and next week are the two games that will feature the front end of our roster the most.
Who will we be paying close attention to against the Buccaneers?
Bernadeau was a low-level signing in March but he was still looked at as a legitimate competitor for the starting left guard position. And then the preseason opener happened and he only played with the backups of the backups. Bernadeau could be on his way out if he doesn't show enough this week in practice to warrant some time with at least the second-string.
On the flip side of the Bernadeau point, Reed is playing his way onto the roster. He played with the starters and the second-team in Week 1. Reed allowed a sack against the Jets as you'd expect a third-string guard to do against starters. But he didn't play poorly, and it's telling that a decent backup at left guard is playing the entire first half in the first week of the preseason. If Reed can continue being not bad then he could make this 53-man roster over Bernadeau.
After a couple of seasons where he seemed good enough to get playing time but inexplicably stayed in Gus Bradley's dog house, McCray showed why he's so far down the depth chart by giving up a touchdown to Jets receiver Charone Peake (made up name) and several pass completions. With the cornerback group stacked for the Jaguars, McCray needs a better game than Nick Marshall to stay with this team past August.
Yes, yes, yes... Fowler is a rookie (for all intents and purposes) and it would be silly to read too much into his preseason debut against the Jets. But he's been absolutely hyped throughout training camp and I want to see what he's able to do with more than 10 snaps a game. In the limited action he had last Thursday, he looked ineffective, which is totally understandable for a guy coming off a major injury. But an increase in snaps and a bit more production should make us forget that Yannick Ngakoue got a sack last week.
If he's healthy, I'm very, very interested in seeing how Day does in the 3-tech position. His success could mean general manager Dave Caldwell has some options in terms of trading away a member of his stacked defensive tackle group.
Gus Bradley said Ramsey would have played in Week 1 against the Jets if it were a regular season game, so let's stop worrying about his knee, okay? Honestly, leaving Ramsey out of the preseason opener is one of the smarter coaching moves Bradley has made recently. Why test his knee on the road against the Jets receivers? Why not hold off until a home game against a weaker receiving group like the Buccaneers?
Ivory looked exactly the part in his debut for the Jaguars, running over Jets defenders with speed and strength, scoring an end zone touchdown, and even showing himself to be a competent receiver out of the backfield on the opening drive. I want to see how Ivory continues to play with more snaps and a shared workload with T.J. Yeldon.
The Albino Tiger did (surprisingly) well in his preseason debut, playing with the second-team, catching four receptions on four targets for 49 yards. He made a circus catch along the sidelines, had some yards after the catch on a shallow crossing route over the middle, and more. It's too early for me to get too hype about it, but if the rest of his preseason looks like this? Well...