With all eyes on the First Coast peaking towards the Atlantic Ocean and potential Hurricane Dorian this weekend, fans of the Jaguars were treated to another natural disaster a few days early as the Gardner Minshew-led back up offense was once again held to a performance in a 31-12 preseason finale loss to the Atlanta Falcons that, much like Dorian, is likely to cause wide spread panic across town be it warranted or not.
Getting his third start and making his fourth appearance in as many games this preseason, Minshew looked a lot closer to the shell shocked performance we saw in the preseason opener at Baltimore than the more composed and accurate thrower that showed up against the Eagles a week later. Whether losing poise in the pocket under pressure, receivers dropping passes, or simply lacking the arm strength to get the ball where it needed to be, Minshew looked often times overwhelmed against a group of Falcons players that are likely to be ex-Falcons within the next 24-48 hours. Not a good sign from the guy who could potentially be called upon to carry the water for this franchise at some point this season.
At this point, having seen now an entire quarter season’s worth of live action with Minshew at the helm, the Jaguars have to be looking heavy into potential cuts or street free agents that would be comfortable with John DeFillipo’s offensive scheme.
Outside of the offensive ineptitude, the defensive back end players found little more success on their end, as Falcons quarterback Danny Etling both ran and passed with mostly successful results against the Jaguars backup defenders, jumping out to a quick 14-0 lead by the start of the second quarter and setting up a lead from which Atlanta would never look back.
The Jaguars now must trim the roster to the 53 men who will compose the 2019 opening day roster by Saturday afternoon, though it has become the norm for word to begin trickling out as early as tomorrow morning as to who has made the team, and who will be sent on to success elsewhere.
All attention following the cut downs now turns to the regular season opener one week from Sunday, against the reigning MVP Patrick Mahomes and the AFC favorite Kansas City Chiefs. A task that may be as tall as the franchise has been asked to take on in a season opener, since they hosted the defending AFC champion Pittsburgh Steelers in 1996.
Odds & Ends:
- For the first time in 25 seasons of the franchise existence, the Jaguars went winless in the preseason.
- Of the few standouts in the game for the Jaguars, rookie running back Ryquel Armstead was impressive at times including breaking off a 38 yard run. Also on offense, receiver CJ Board made several nice grabs from Minshew in his bid to likely land on the practice squad.
- Taven Bryan finally recorded a positive play, registering a sack late in the first half.
- Datone Jones, trying to keep a lock on perhaps the last spot on the defensive line, blocked a Blair Walsh field goal attempt in the third quarter.
- Third-team quarterback Alex McGough finishes the preseason accounting for two of the three Jaguars touchdowns scored in the 2019 preseason, both scores were on the ground.