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Allen & defense dominate, while Foles variance shows in lone exhibition game for Jags starters

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Jacksonville Jaguars v Miami Dolphins Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

For the first time in 2019, Jaguars fans got a chance to see their full team in action against another NFL opponent as the majority of the team’s starters played just over a full quarter in their third preseason game of the season, in a meaningless 22-7 loss against the Miami Dolphins.

Fans were reminded quickly how dominant the defense can still be as the Miami offense, led by veteran quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, was able to do enough to just avoid taking sacks or turning it over with an onslaught of pressure consistently being applied by the likes of Yannick Ngakoue and Calais Campbell, in their season debuts. But while the commonly known names played as expected, it was the rookie seventh overall pick Josh Allen who stole the show on the national prime-time stage.

Allen was, for lack of a better term, a monster during his two quarters of work totaling 4 tackles, 2 tackles for loss, and applying consistently hurries on Fitzpatrick to the point where the journeyman signal caller could be seen visibly shaken at times. The rookie defensive end had shown brief flashes in the team’s first two preseason scrimmage games, but saved his best game thus far for what is widely dubbed the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season, putting together a complete highlight package of plays in just a half of football.

Jacksonville’s first-team defense finished the night allowing Miami a total of ten net yards in three series of play.

Offensively, the debut of the $88 million dollar free agent quarterback Nick Foles and the first team offense was more hit or miss. After starting the game with consecutive three and outs, Foles led an impressive seven play, seventy-five yard scoring drive with the help of Dede Westbrook and Leonard Fournette each making chain-moving plays, and a big assist by a downfield interference call on a third and short on a sideline pass intended for All-Pro* wide receiver Chris Conley. Foles capped the drive by rolling to his right and easily flicking a ten yard pass to Westbrook who dragged the back of the end zone for the score.

The Jaguars could’ve (and probably should’ve) sat the first-team offense following that drive, but decided to press their luck by sending the starters out for another drive to begin the second quarter. After a promising start that included some hard runs and a nice reception from Fournette, Foles was pressured on a third and long at midfield following a blown blocking assignment by Leonard Wester, and forced a throw to Westbrook in coverage that resulted in an interception by Miami corner Eric Rowe. That would be the final throw of Foles’ preseason. He finished the night 6/10 for 48 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

The interception aside, Foles did show the capability to be what has been advertised this summer— an accurate passer who has a full control of John DeFilippo’s offense. You just wish we got a chance to see a bigger sample size of what that offense will look like.

Jacksonville fell to 0-3 on the preseason, and will return home to a day off tomorrow before getting ready for the merciful finale to the preseason against Atlanta next Thursday, a game that will be the last shot for the back end roster guys to make their case to stay on with the team this fall before August 31st cuts are made.

Odds & Ends

  • The game was also the premier of what will likely be the starting offensive line which featured Will Richardson starting at right guard over AJ Cann. It would apppear the battle between the two has been won by the second-year player from NC State. Cam Robinson played on a very tight pitch count and looked fine in his first action since Week 2 of 2018 after tearing his ACL. Rookie right tackle Jawaan Taylor also made his debut as a Jaguar, and played very, very well as the starting right tackle. All in all, a solid performance for the group as a whole.
  • Perhaps the tightest battle on the team left is for the backup defensive end spot between Dawuane Smoot and Datone Jones. After a slow start, Smoot has come one strong in the last two games including tonight, while Jones flashed but was not as productive as his evening against the Eagles last week. It will be an interesting week for those two players.
  • Josh Lambo missed his lone field goal attempt of the night from 55 yards out.