The Jaguars, after facing off with Patriots in joint practices during the week, defeated the Pats in their first contest of the preseason. Here's what I saw.
1. Leonard Fournette, once again, proved that the stage isn't too big for him. After his 9 carry, 31 yard performance, that included his first rushing TD in the NFL, Fournette told NFL.com that he thought the speed of the game would be faster. During the game he showed off his power, vision, and agility.
2. Yannick Ngakoue appears ready to improve on his 2016 sack total. As a rookie Ngakoue set the Jaguars rookie record for sacks in a season. This year he appears to be ready to eclipse the double digit sack mark. In limited time in this one he got a sack and another QB hurry.
He also added another 11 yard catch, and was even a factor on special teams recording a tackle as a gunner on punt coverage. If Cole keeps these type of performances up it'll be impossible to keep him on the roster.
4. Jason Myers might be in trouble. He hasn't been stellar on the practice field so far in camp and that creeped into his first game of the season. Myers was just 1/3 on the day, missing two makable kicks. Chatter might begin to pick up about the Jaguars needing to add a kicker for competition.
5. Dede Westbrook made an impact too. The speedy fourth round pick caught a 42 yard TD pass from Brandon Allen. If Westbrook can keep up his play as of late then he'll push Allen Hurns and Marqise Lee for playing time. Westbrook also chipped in with a 7 yard punt return.
6. Corey Grant's impressive camp continued. As I said in our recent podcast it seems like Corey Grant has been the most impressive backup running back on the team this year. Certainly he won't earn the number two gig at RB, but he does deserve a roster spot. Coming off a 100+ yard effort in his last regular season game, Grant followed it up with another 100+ yard effort. Grant carried the ball 8 times for 120 yards and a TD. His speed creates real matchup problems and he has grown more physical since entering the league a couple of years ago.
7. Myles Jack needs to play better. Jack made some nice plays, but he also missed a few tackles and was out of position a couple times. Jack made 6 tackles, while playing the entire first half. He flashed his speed and hitting ability, now he needs to play consisnelty down in and down out.
8. The Jaguars offensive line played well. The Jaguars QBs regularly had a nice pocket to throw from and there was more push in the run game than Jaguars fans have seen in some time. The interior that consisted of Patrick Omameh at LG, Branon Linder at C, and AJ Cann at RG regularly pushed the interior defensive line backwards allowing runners some room to work with. Cam Robinson held his own on the left side and will be asked to do more and more as the preseason progresses.
9. Blake Bortles did what you wanted. He only threw the ball 5 times, but he completed 3 of those passes and looked comfortable on the field. He didn't force anything and didn't give any real reason for concern moving forward. The Jaguars are going to run the ball in 2017. Can Bortles play game manager?
10. Speaking of the running game, the Jaguars found real balance in this game. The team, as a whole, put up 240 yards in the air and 207 yards on the ground. If the Jaguars can find that kind of balance in the regular season opposing teams will be in for much more of a fight than they got in 2016.
This was a great day for the Jaguars. Sure, it was just preseason and you shouldn't read too much into it, but the Jaguars did pretty much everything you wanted to see, save Jason Myers' poor kicking effort.
What did you think about the Jaguars first preseason contest? Let us know in the comments!
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