The Jaguars will host their annual Family Night Scrimmage this evening. It’s little more than a glorified practice, but it’s a chance for the team and the fans to get back into “The Bank” and simulate a game type atmosphere.
As you take in the scrimmage here’s three things to watch for.
Do Blake Bortles and his receivers continue to play with confidence?
There’s no question that throwing lanes have tightened up a bit since the arrival of Jalen Ramsey at Jaguars training camp. But the passing offense has continued to show signs of life, despite facing the vaunted Jaguars secondary in practice every day. Blake Bortles has had BY FAR his best training camp to date. That should come as no surprise - the guy is finally comfortable - as Bortles was able to work the 3DQB Camp this offseason for the second straight year, is entering his second season in Nathaniel Hackett’s offense, and has a shiny new contract. He has shown good chemistry with young receivers Keelan Cole and Dede Westbrook. And prior to Marqise Lee and Donte Moncrief going down with minor injuries he showed a nice connection with both veterans. Perhaps his favorite target so far has been newly acquired tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins. The point is Bortles and his receivers have been impressive to this point in training camp. Tonight will be the closest atmosphere to a real game that the team has had to this point in camp. If Bortles and the receivers continue to play with confidence and consistency it’ll be a nice step in the right direction for this passing offense. It’ll be no easy task against the Jaguars star studded defense.
Do Cam Robinson and AJ Cann continue to look vastly improved?
Cam Robinson was a rookie last year and was forced into a tough spot having to start from day one of the regular season at left tackle with the surprise retirement of Branden Albert. Still, he played as well as you could expect for a rookie that had little time to prepare for a starting role. He was also hampered by an ankle injury for much of the season. But he’s looked much improved and has more than held his own against Yannick Ngakoue, Calais Campbell and Taven Bryan in practice. The added muscle mass to his upper body has helped him hold up at the point of attack.
AJ Cann had an up and down year in 2017 for the Jaguars at right guard. For most he was considered the Jaguars weak link on the offensive line. He had high highs and low lows, but to this point in training camp it’s been clear that he belongs in the starting lineup. During practice he’s come out on top in one-on-one battles with Malik Jackson, Marcell Dareus and others.
Can these two players, who both had up and down seasons in 2017, establish themselves as consistently reliable players on the O-Line? If so the Jaguars running game and pass protection could see a whole lot of improvement in 2018.
How do the depth pieces look?
The Jaguars appear to have one of the deepest rosters in football. Nearly every position is loaded with quality depth that has legitimate experience in the NFL.
Is there a huge drop off between the backups and starters? There figures to be a drop off of some kind - the Jaguars have some of the best front end talent in football, but with backups like Cody Davis, Ronnie Harrison, Tyler Patmon, Blair Brown, Donald Payne, Dawuane Smoot, Taven Bryan, Abry Jones, Tyler Shatley, Josh Wells, Josh Walker, TJ Yeldon, Corey Grant, DJ Chark, Rashad Greene, Jaydon Mickens, Shane Wynn, Niles Paul, Ben Koyack and others, there is no lack of talent outside of the starting lineup in Jacksonville.
Which backups will emerge as playmakers? So far there’s a long list of worthy candidates.
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