The Jacksonville Jaguars first preseason game is now in the books and so far, so good. The team beat the New England Patriots 31-24, though the final scoreline isn’t really all that important. The important thing was the Jaguars showed a few things we wanted to see.
Prior to the game I outlined five things I’d be looking for in the game, so let’s go through and see if we saw them.
1. Blake Bortles’ efficiency
Bortles played only the first quarter, as planned by Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone, and he was fine? Bortles only threw five passes, completing three, for 16 yards and facilitated a field goal drive. If you were looking for something to pound your chest about Bortles looking good or bad in Thursday night’s game, you were left wanting.
I do think we saw from Bortles what the Jaguars are going to try to get out of him in the regular season. Take what the defense gives you, move the chains, and don’t turn the ball over. All Bortles three completions were thrown less than 10 yards, one of his completions was a flat out drop by Rashad Greene and the other incompletion was a smart throw away in the redzone where no one was open.
I’ll even give Bortles credit on the replay, it appeared like the Patriots had sort of a robber playing underneath, almost baiting him to try to thread the needle to Robinson in the back of the endzone, but he threw it high where only maybe Robinson could make a play on it.
2. How did the offensive line look?
The offensive line was fine for the most part. None of the Jaguars quarterbacks were sacked in the game and the team ran the ball well enough, much better later on in the game when the Patriots started to rotate guys out. Leonard Fournette and Chris Ivory both ran for sub-4 yards per carry, but the way they got their yardage felt like over the course of a full game, they’d have gained momentum.
Rookie left tackle Cam Robinson looked pretty good, to me. He held his own in pass protection and early in the game was able to move defenders around on some blocks with Patrick Omemah.
3. Did Myles Jack make a play?
Following along on Twitter, I saw a lot of people worried about Myles Jack as the game was going on, but he seemed to get better the more he played, which is to be expected. Jack was a bit of a mixed bag on the night, finding himself lost a few times in coverage and missing a few tackles, but he also knifed in a few run plays and had a nice blitz to flush Jimmy Garoppolo out of the pocket. All in all, it was about as expected from the second year player making the transition.
“It was Ok. I missed way too many tackles. I still have a lot of work to do,” Jack said after the game. “I’m not satisfied; I still have a ways to go. I’m going to continue working. We have another game next week and I’m excited.”
4. Did Dante Fowler, Jr. re-appear?
Sort of... ? I genuinely asked on Twitter near halftime if Fowler had even been on the field yet, and the very next play he nearly got called for a penalty for hitting Garoppolo in the head on a rush. Fowler made a few plays in the run game, as per usual, but his pass rush left a lot to be desired. It’s worrying trend of him looking great in training camp then disappearing when he goes up against another team, but it is only just a single preseason game.
He didn’t get flagged in the game, so that’s good.
5. The defensive back depth
If you didn’t know the Jaguars were without their top three cornerbacks prior to Thursday night’s game, you certainly knew during the game. Live-watching the game I thought Jimmy Garoppolo had an OK game, but I was surprised when I pulled up the stat sheet on Friday morning to see he completed 78.5 percent of his passes for over 200 yards and two touchdowns. When the Jaguars “first team” defense was in the game, he looked rattled, but perhaps that was because Yannick Ngakoue was in his nightmares.
But, the defensive backfield went about as expected. They weren’t a total disaster, but they also didn’t really make any plays.
All in all, it was exactly what you want out of a Week 1 preseason game.