The Jaguars were unable to achieve victory for the second straight week, not that it matters. Preseason is all about individual effort, not team success. Just ask the 2008 Detriot Lions, who went 4-0 in the preseason only to lose every single game in the regular season.
No, the Jaguars may not have won this one. But there were plenty of encouraging developments.
Here are five takeaways from the Jaguars' 24-10 loss to the Eagles.
Gardner Minshew did a complete 180.
The Jaguars 2019 sixth-round pick had a tough go of it in his first career preseason game last week. He struggled to find open receivers and was consistently under pressure. This week, instead of allowing himself to be overcome by the defensive pentertaion of the Eagles, Minshew found his poise in the pocket. He read Philly's blitzes perfectly. Minshew completed 19/29 passes for 202 yards. He didn't find the endzone but did help lead the Jaguars' offense to their first points of the preseason. If Minshew and his mustache can keep the momentum rolling, he could prove a worthy backup to Nick Foles.
Breon Borders is ahead of Quenton Meeks in the race for the final cornerback spot.
Breon Borders is better than Quenton Meeks. There, I said it. Meeks was a coach's favorite entering the summer, but his performance has left a lot to be desired. Breon Borders, on the other hand — a relative unknown in these parts — has been dynamite. He registered two dazzling pass breakups on the outside and added two tackles. Meeks did little to prove he belongs in Jacksonville on Thursday night.
Additional Note: Tae Hayes, who has also been fantastic throughout the summer, picked up two pass breakups of his own. He also made four tackles. While diminutive, Hayes has NFL talent. The Jaguars will have to decide if his ability is enough to overcome his lack of length.
Thomas Rawls ran with a purpose.
His overall stat line won't impress you. But don't blame Thomas Rawls for that. The Jaguars' offensive line failed to create any push up front in the run game. But Rawls ran hard and had a stretch that showed how valuable a backup he may be for the Jaguars in 2019. On one drive in the third quarter, Rawls carried the ball for gains of 6, 11, and 8 yards. Rawls also hauled in all three of his targets, picking up 19 more yards. As long as he's healthy, Rawls deserves a spot on the roster.
Additional note: Alfred Blue suffered an ankle injury early and didn't return, making Rawls even more vital for the Jaguars' running back room.
Logan Cooke has Pro Bowl potential.
Yes, it's time to talk about the punter. Logan Cooke has been spectacular this preseason. In week one, Cooke landed four of his eight punts inside the 20 and averaged 45.4 yards per punt in doing so. He was even better against the Eagles. All five of his punts landed inside the 20. He landed two punts at the Eagles five-yard line, and three at their 15. If Cooke can avoid the costly miscues that plagued him — at times — during his rookie year, he and the Jaguars will be in great shape.
Alex McGough made the most of his opportunity.
The second-year QB out of FIU got his chance to run with the third-team offense tonight, overtaking Tanner Lee. McGough wasn't efficient by any measure, completing 2/9 passes. But his arm strength was on display, as was his ability to make plays with his legs. McGough scored the first touchdown of the preseason on a four-yard scramble on fourth-and-goal. On a third-and-fifteen, the young QB took the ball and ran for a first down. Later on the same drive, he rolled to the right, only to run back to the left side of the field, and delivered a beautiful pass that just fell incomplete. McGough's natural arm talent and ridiculous athleticism are worth developing, even if he has a long way to go when it comes to operating an offense. The Jaguars should keep him on their active roster, else risk another club snatching him off their practice squad.
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