Wow. For the first time in a long time, the Jacksonville Jaguars preseason has been fun.
Gone are the days of seeing our second-team defense get blown out by fourth-team offenses. Farewell to watching WRs who can’t get more than a yard of separation or catch a ball that hits them squarely in the chest. Adios to quarterbacks who can’t throw an accurate ball deeper than 10 yards out.
This Jags team is deeper than any other in recent memory, with playmakers on both sides of the ball and more roster-worthy players than we will have room for. Fortunately for the Jags, the rookies are no exception.
RB Tank Bigsby: Bigsby continued to impress in his second preseason game in Detroit, logging 13 carries for 74 yards (5.4 YPC). He has consistently demonstrated good vision at the line of scrimmage, often able to find those extra couple of yards on the inside or bounce to the outside for a first down. He appears to be playing himself into a more prominent role alongside Travis Etienne. Of note, a nice 17-yard scamper was called back after a holding call on WR Tim Jones.
WR Elijah Cooks: Cooks made a huge 48-yard reception on a slant at the end of the third quarter on a nice pass from Nathan Rourke. He followed this up with a great 23-yard contested catch. However, he notably missed a block on the next play that led to a rough tackle for loss on WR Oliver Martin and will need to do a better job blocking next week to have a shot at the coveted WR6 roster spot.
CB Christian Braswell: Braswell continued to make a case for making the Jags’ roster with a great performance in coverage, including a nice pass breakup on a deep route and a good tackle behind the line of scrimmage with four minutes left in the first half.
TE Brenton Strange: Strange first appeared on the stat sheet with a short reception for a first down, following that up a couple of drives later with another nice 15-yard catch for a first down. Perhaps his greatest impact thus far is in the blocking game; he has been outstanding in that realm thus far, consistently sealing the outside for Tank Bigsby.
WR Parker Washington: Washington started off the day slow as both a WR and KR, starting off the day with 0 receptions and 3 consecutive fair catches. He started to wake up towards the end of the second quarter with a nice punt return on tight coverage and a 15-yard TD reception to close the first half. Of note, he had a muffed punt return on a risky fair catch, but it was fortunately recovered by the Jags.
Other Notable Performances:
LB Ventrell Miller: Miller had a solid showing with 1 sack and 1 tackle for loss. He was better in coverage this week.
DE Tyler Lacy: Lacy did enough to impress the coaching staff in his second showing, logging 3 tackles and 1 tipped pass at the line.
OLB Yasir Abdullah: Abdullah had another strong showing, more than the stat sheet might reflect. Though he logged only 1 QB hit, he was consistently in the backfield during his brief time on the field.
DB Erick Hallett: Hallett was inconsistent on Sunday. He had a rough start in the second half, first letting up a 4th down conversion in coverage and failing to tag down a receiver on the play immediately following. He blew coverage against Lions WR Chase Cota to give up a touchdown to cap that same drive. He was better on the next drive.
OL Cooper Hodges: Hodges went down towards the end of the first quarter with a knee injury. We will continue to monitor his injury status.
DT Raymond Vohasek: Vohasek had a quietly solid showing on the day, sealing up running lanes and logging a good tackle in the backfield today.
Heck of a play by the nose tackle. Rookie Raymond Vohasek pic.twitter.com/nQeS0fQVhZ— Fitz (@LaurieFitzptrck) August 19, 2023
CB Divaad Wilson: Wilson logged 2 tackles, including 1 nice open-field tackle behind the line of scrimmage.
OLB DJ Coleman: Coleman had a good game today with one TFL and a would-be-fumble recovery on a blown call on the last play of the first half.
CB Kaleb Hayes: Hayes had 2 tackles and a good PBU
FB Derick Parish: 0 rushes, 0 catches
WR Jaray Jenkins: 0 catches
LB Dequan Jackson: 1 tackle
Did Not Play:
OT Anton Harrison: DNP due to starters being held out.
S Antonio Johnson: DNP due to hamstring injury.
This was another strong showing from the Jags backups, which has made this pre-season as exciting to watch as I can remember. If anything, it reinforced my prediction last week: Harrison, Strange, Bigsby, Abdullah, Johnson, Washington, Braswell, Lacy, and Miller make the roster. Hodges and Cooks have a shot, but Hodges’ injury may play a role and Cooks continues to have stiff competition in the form of Tim Jones and Seth Williams. I’ll add Vohasek to the “maybe list” alongside Hodges and Cooks, particularly if DaVon Hamilton’s injury keeps him out for an extended period of time. I still think the rest will be cut and/or remain on the practice squad.
Next week, in addition to the starters playing until halftime, we should continue to see these players fight hard for a roster spot in the second half. This roster is uncharacteristically deep for the Jaguars and should make for an interesting decision by Pederson’s staff in the week or two ahead.
Tune in next week at 7 p.m. EST to watch the Jags take on the Dolphins in the final week of the preseason. Which rookie will you be looking out for?