The Jacksonville Jaguars battled about as hard as they could yesterday, coming within literal inches of snatching victory away from the jaws of defeat. But not even a Herculean effort from their defense and a sixth round rookie quarterback playing as well as we could have hoped was enough to turn the tide.
It all ended up in a 13-12 loss at the end of the day.
With all that said, there were some good performances and some not so good performances on Sunday afternoon. Here’s who stood out the most:
1. DJ Chark
Chark has the chance to do this season what only two other Jaguars players have done in the last 15 seasons — catch for more than 1,000 yards. He is a rising star on this offense and along with Chris Conley are providing the quarterback with dependable options in the passing game. They’re running great routes and catching almost 90 percent of the passes thrown their way.
But it’s Chark, at just 22 years old, who is showing the higher ceiling and the greater long term value. He’s the emerging deep threat on this team and his 201 yards and two receiving touchdowns both lead the team.
2. Gardner Minshew
The moment was not too big for the sixth round rookie quarterback who made his first NFL start opposite Deshaun Watson. He completed a very nice 69% of his passes and was poised on that final drive to give Jacksonville a chance. If he continues to play this way for the next two months, it’ll be awfully hard to put Nick Foles back in when you have a chance to further develop your quarterback of the future.
3. Chris Conley
Conley is looking more and more like a great free agent signing as the weeks go on. He’s averaging 85 yards a game (second best on the team) and he’s caught 83% of the passes thrown his way. He was a safety valve for Minshew, especially on that final drive, and I suspect he could get to 1,000 yards alongside Chark if Minshew keeps growing.
Conley for 31 yards! What a throw and catch pic.twitter.com/p1QtIkOKk6— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) September 15, 2019
4. Jalen Ramsey
DeAndre Hopkins caught just four of seven passes thrown his way for 27 yards when Ramsey was covering him. King.
Jalen Ramsey did his best to keep a lid on DeAndre Hopkins' threat during the week 2 #Jaguars #Texans matchup.— PFF JAX Jaguars (@PFF_Jaguars) September 16, 2019
When covered by Ramsey, Hopkins caught 4 of 7 targets for 27 yards including only 2 Yards After Catch (YAC) pic.twitter.com/6X2t18m6yg
5. Taven Bryan
Credit where credit is due. Bryan finally played up to his draft position with two quarterback pressures — both on third down and one nearly leading to a pick-six interception. He probably had the best game of any Jaguars defensive lineman.
6. Logan Cooke
It’s never a good sign when your punter is on one of these lists. Either your offense sucked or your punter blew it. But Cooke helped the defense out a lot yesterday with several punts pinned inside the 10 yard line and one downed just inches from the goal line. He netted a 48.0 yard average, downed four inside the 20, and combined with the coverage team allowed only one return for five yards on six punts. Weapon.
7. Leonard Fournette
He was in on 65 of the offense’s 67 snaps but even his highlights looked disappointing. Here he is getting a much needed yard on fourth down, but look at the stutter step. He should be north-south running, not trying to juke someone at the line of scrimmage when 21 other guys are within five yards of him.
the side studder step is not normal Fournette pic.twitter.com/MFcbRzUU9c— Laurie Fitzpatrick (@LaurieFitzptrck) September 15, 2019
87 total yards is not good enough for a bell cow back getting 65 snaps. The argument that a better offensive line would make him better is not a good one. There are plenty of other running backs with worse offensive lines producing more for their team.
8. The entire offensive line
This unit should be playing out of its mind. From left to right it’s a third round pick, the highest paid guard in the game, the highest paid center in the game, a third round pick, and a second round pick. And yet they allowed four sacks (some of which were on Minshew) and seven hits on the quarterback. Not to mention countless holding penalties that negated some real flashes by the offense. Not a good outing by them at all.
Who stood out to you the most from our Week 2 loss to the Texans? Let us know in the comments below!