The Jacksonville Jaguars lost their third straight preseason game but the end score is meaningless. It’s about seeing how the starters do against their starters, if some backups can provide better depth than originally thought, and if a diamond in the rough (or two!) emerge out of nowhere.
That has happened so far this preseason and that’s why I’m encouraged despite the 0-3 record.
All that said, there were some really good performances on Thursday night. Here’s who stood out the most:
1. Josh Allen
His box score was fine for only playing a half of football — four tackles, two for a loss, and two quarterback hits. That’s not a bad stat line. But if you watched the game, he was the standout player for either team. He was a complete wrecking ball at both defensive end and standing up in some hybrid 3-4 looks. If he plays like he did last night over the course of this season, he’ll earn some 2019 NFL Rookie of the Year talk.
2. Will Richardson
We were watching Richardson closely last night because we knew a good performance would solidify his spot as a starting right guard going into Week 1 — and Richardson delivered. Foles dropped back to pass 10 times and he was pressured once which led to an interception, but wasn’t sacked at all. Richardson looked the part of a starting right guard in the NFL and his competitor, A.J. Cann, who played late into the game with guys who will be cut in a week, did not.
3. Jawaan Taylor
Like Richardson, we had our eye on Taylor to see what he could do with his injury concerns popping up in training camp and creeping into the preseason. Taylor handled his opponent on every snap he got and was the mauler we set out to poach at the top of the second round. I’m far more encouraged about our offensive line than I thought I would be.
4. Datone Jones
Jones has put together incredibly strong back-to-back performances against the Philadelphia Eagles last week and the Miami Dolphins last night. He finished with a team high six tackles, with two of those for a loss. Eli Ankou only played a handful of snaps and registered just one tackle late in the game, so I’m hoping Jones will just make the 53-man roster.
A former first round draft pick by the Green Bay Packers back in 2013, it was remaining to be seen if Jones had anything left after bouncing around four different teams over the past two years. His performance against the Dolphins was fun to watch.
4. Dede Westbrook
Westbrook is going to play a big part in this year’s passing game. He had seven targets on the night, finishing with four receptions for 29 yards and a touchdown. He’s the sleeper on offense that will be well worth a seventh or eighth round pick if you’re in a PPR fantasy league because if he’s seeing 70 percent of Nick Foles’ targets in a single half of football, the production will follow.
5. Gardner Minshew
The backup quarterback job is safe. Minshew followed up a solid game last week with a slightly better one this week. He looked more comfortable last night, completing 63 percent of his passes for 5.2 yards per pass attempt. He even broke off an 18-yard run in the second half, the longest the team had all game. It looks like our front office finally drafted a good quarterback, folks.
6. C.J. Board
I have a hunch that Keelan Cole is on the outs here and that it’s down to Board to battle against Tre McBride to get that coveted last receiver spot. While McBride dropped a moderately tough pass (but one that went through his hands) Board led the team with 56 receiving yards and an 80 percent catch rate. Right now, Board is just ahead of McBride but this will be a fun battle to watch next week against the Atlanta Falcons.
Who stood out to you the most from last night’s loss to the Dolphins? Let us know in the comments below!