The Jacksonville Jaguars were scheduled to open their 2019 season with a preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens. While the Ravens got the memo that a game, albeit an exhibition, was being played Thursday night at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, the Jaguars appeared to have been of the belief that their obligations ended Tuesday afternoon as the team sat a record 32 players including the entire starting defense and all but one of the offensive starters for the prime-time scrimmage.
What resulted, was a night that resembled a lot of what Jaguars fans may recall from the final weeks of the 2018 season and what is an absolute indictment on how pathetic the NFL preseason has become, with a lethargic struggle by the team to resemble a NFL caliber squad as the Jaguars fell to the Ravens 29-0.
With Nick Foles out, the much anticipated debut of sixth-round pick Gardner Minshew was a flat out dud, with the quarterback finishing a dismal 7/14 for 46 yards while taking multiple sacks albeit behind a patchwork back up offensive line going against a bevy of Ravens starters. Second year quarterbacks Tanner Lee and Alex McGough fared even worse, contributing an interception each including one by Lee which was returned easily for a walk-in touchdown by a Ravens defender. If the Jaguars felt secure in their back up quarterback spot flying into Baltimore this past weekend, they have to be heading back to Florida with a rather tight knot in their collective stomachs at the thought of what may happen if Foles is to miss any time this season.
How bad was the offense? The Jaguars failed to make it into Ravens territory, a rather stunning achievement in a preseason game where you often see inexperienced players blow an assignment or tackle allowing for at least one or two big gains on either side.
On the defensive side, other than a couple of early flashes by the seventh overall pick Josh Allen, there was not much to write home about. Cornerback C.J. Reavis had a nice game, following what has been a mostly down camp thus far and undrafted rookie Tae Hayes made a nice interception on a pass off fellow rookie Trace McSorely as time was expiring in the first half. For the most part, however, the Ravens— who played most of their offensive starters as well, including quarterback Lamar Jackson, had their way with the Jags back ups in a continuation of what was somewhat of a theme earlier in the week.
The Jaguars will now travel back home to Jacksonville and return to the practice fields to resume camp on Saturday following a day off tomorrow. They return to TIAA Bank Field in a week for game two of the preseason against the Philadelphia Eagles, in a game where one would expect we see the actual Jaguars squad play, if even for a quarter.