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Minshew shows improvement, but Jags backups drop starter-less preseason home opener to Eagles

Philadelphia Eagles v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images

For the second consecutive week, fans hoping to get their first glimpse of Nick Foles and the rest of the Jaguars starters in 2019 were left wanting, as head coach Doug Marrone held true to his insinuations this week of holding out as many starting players as possible with the Jags fielding a starting twenty-two almost entirely composed of backup players, in a 24-10 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.

With the visiting Eagles fielding a majority of first-team players on defense, it was once again the rookie sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew leading the offense. Unlike last week in Baltimore, however, the rookie showed many more positive signs of progressing into the role as a competent backup to Foles this season than what had been seen in his previous start. Displaying poise in the pocket under constant duress from an offensive line made up of the likes of Cedric Ogbuehi and Leonard Wester going against defensive standouts Brandon Graham and Vinnie Curry, Minshew at times was able to convert third downs and move the ball with some consistency, albeit still without being able to drive much further than briefly past midfield. Minshew’s most successful drive of the night was in a hurry-up two minute situation at the end of half number one, that allowed Josh Lambo to convert the first points of the preseason for the Jaguars, taking the teams into the half down 7-3.

Minshew finished the night after playing three quarters, going 19/29 for 202 yards with no touchdowns nor interceptions thrown.

Quarterback Alex McGough, battling Tanner Lee to stay on the roster at this point, produced the first touchdown of the preseason with a six yard run, following an interception by Picasso Nelson to give the Jags a short eight yard field to work with.

On defense, the team did once again start rookie first rounder Josh Allen as well as penciled-in starting free safety Jarrod Wilson. The results produced well early on, as Eagles back up and former Jag placeholder Cody Kessler was knocked out of the game during the Eagles’ first drive, following a crushing blind side sack from Datone Jones. The former Green Bay first round pick had himself a hell of a game in the first half, and has likely played himself into the backup “big end” role behind Calais Campbell. Allen, for his part, again showed some flashes here and there as he did in Baltimore, but has yet to turn it into recordable production.

The Jaguars fall to 0-2 on the preseason, and will now turn their attention to the preseason “dress rehearsal” on the national stage against Miami, where Marrone has stated that we will finally get our one and only chance to see most of the starters in action before Week One against Kansas City.

The team will have a day off tomorrow, before returning to the field on Saturday.

Odds & Ends

  • Game balls go to Minshew, Jones, and Lambo.
  • On the injury front, the Jaguars seemed to luckily avoid much in the way of injuries tonight, but running back Alfred Blue left the game early with what appeared to be a significant ankle sprain.
  • Will Richardson, making a push this week at AJ Cann’s starting right guard gig per Doug Marrone, had by far the best night of the offensive linemen in teal and very well may have beaten out Cann for the job tonight.