The Jaguars beat the Buccaneers 25-10 in the final game of their 2018 preseason slate at Raymon James Stadium in Tampa. While none of the starters played, this was a crucial game for players on the roster bubble. Roster cut day loomed large, but there were several impressive performances by players who are fighting for a spot on the active roster and/or practice squad.
1. Dante Fowler was lights out
The highest profile player that took the field for the Jaguars on Thursday night was Dante Fowler Jr. The expectation for Fowler entering this game was that he should look like the most talented player on the field, and he did. He blew up a couple plays in the backfield, exploding past would be blockers. He's suspended for the first game of the season, so this is the last we will see of Dante until the Patriots come to town in week two of the regular season. All signs indicate that he'll be back to his 2017 form when that time comes.
2. The defense tightened up in the second half
After a subpar first half by the Jaguars defense, especially by the defensive backs, the defense turned things around and stifled the Bucs offense in the second half.
There are several defensive backs fighting for their livelihoods, mostly at the CB position. Tre Herndon, who has received a lot of praise from coaches, has a pass break up, but so did Quenton Meeks, who is battling for the same job. Dee Delaney had three passes defended, while Myrick had two. The Jaguars will have a tough decision to make about who will earn the final CB spot on the roster.
Other notable performances came from Blair Brown, who forced a fumble on a strip sack and recorded four solo tackles. Carrol Phillips found the endzone on a scoop and score after Brown's strip sack and also recorded two tackles and a tackle for loss. Backup three tech Michael Bennett picked up two tackles and a tackle for loss.
3. The backup RBs had a day
It's unknown, at this point, whether or not the Jaguars intend to keep three or four running backs. But the two guys who are battling it out for the would be fourth spot had big time performances. Both's YPC were negatively impacted late in the game when the Jaguars decided they were done passing the ball, but still Brandon Wilds and Tim Cook were impressive. Wilds looked explosive and tough. He carried the ball 17 times for 88 yards. Cook was excellent in short yardage situations. He converted a third down and found the end zone twice on the day.
It's possible that neither player is added to the active roster, but both could have a shot at the practice squad.
4. Tanner Lee finally showed something
Prior to Thursday night Tanner Lee had been having a rough go of it in the preseason. But he turned things around, showing that the sixth round pick the Jaguars used to acquire the rookie from Nebraska, might not have been a mistake. He wasn't great, but he was passable for the first time this preseason. He competed 11/22 passes for 164 yards and looked comfortable in the pocket. He regularly delivered balls on time and showed off his big arm on several instances. It would be shocking if Lee was added to the active roster, but he may have earned himself a spot on the practice squad with this performance.
5. There were no major injuries for the Jaguars
The Jaguars escaped the final preseason game relatively unscathed, and for the most part stayed healthy throughout the preseason. They lost their "number one" receiver Marqise Lee for the season last week against the Falcons, but other than that the Jaguars are primed and ready for the regular season.
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