The Jaguars will take on the Falcons Saturday evening at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville in the teams third preseason game of 2018. In what is known as the annual dress rehearsal, the Jaguars starters will likely play into the third quarter and maybe even longer if head coach Doug Marrone doesn't like what he sees. Here's five things to keep an eye on tonight as the Jaguars look for their second win of the preseason.
1. Can a (mostly) healthy offensive line show improvement?
The Jaguars offensive line has been decent throughout the preseason when it comes to run blocking, but in pass protection it's been ugly. Of course, the Jaguars have been without two of their best run blockers, left guard Andrew Norwell and right tackle Jermey Parnell. Both of them will be back for the Jaguars tonight. Starting center Brandon Linder isn't likely to play after suffering a minor knee injury against the Vikings last week. Still, with four of the five starters on the field the Jaguars offensive line should play much better. The Falcons have a tough front, so this will be a good test. Left tackle Cam Robinson's play needs to improve. The last two weeks he's looked a bit sluggish.
2. Can Blake Bortles bounce back from a disappointing week in Minnesota?
The national narrative around Blake Bortles performance in Minneapolis last week, throughout two joint practices and a preseason game against the Vikings, isn't exactly an honest one. National media pundits would have you believe that the sky is falling for Blake Bortles in Jacksonville. Did Blake throw several picks in practice against the Vikings? Yes. Did he throw a bad pick in the game against the Vikings? Yes. But in both instances he was able to rebound well. In the preseason game he was able to finish the contest 12/20 and showed resilience after throwing the early pick. Still, it would be nice to see Bortles have a clean game against the Falcons this evening.
3. Tyler Patmon vs DJ Hayden
The Jaguars nickel cornerback spot is very, very interesting. Despite signing DJ Hayden to a contract that pays out over $6 million a year, the Jaguars have been letting journeyman Tyler Patmon compete for the nickel job. And to be completely honest, he's looked better than Hayden. Don't get me wrong: Hayden hasn't played all that poorly, but Patmon looks like a man on a mission. He brings a swagger, and physicality to the position that Hayden seems to be missing. The Jaguars defensive backfield is all about swagger and Tyler Patmon's got it. Which player shows out tonight? The answer could go a long way towards deciding who will be the starter at nickel for the Jaguars come week one of the regular season.
4. Taven Bryan's debut
The Jaguars have been without Taven Bryan to this point in the preseason. But he is set to make his debut tonight. It'll be good to see what the Jaguars have with their rookie defensive lineman against a tough Falcons O-line. If he can hold the point of attack, create some pressure, and play with consistency it'll be a good night for the rookie. Don't be surprised, however, if you see some splash plays from the "Wyoming Wild Man". He was known for blowing up plays in the backfield in college and has received high praise from his mentor Calais Campbell.
5. The battle for the sixth WR spot
Who will emerge? It seems that Rashad Greene, Jaydon Mickens, and Shane Wynn are battling it out for the sixth wide receiver spot. Greene has been the most impressive throughout training camp as a receiver. But whoever wins this job will likely need to be the starting punt returner too. Greene muffed a punt in week one, but also returned one 56 yards in week two to set up the game winning score. Jaydon Mickens has been steady and brings some real juice to the punt return position. Shane Wynn hasn't gotten much of an opportunity to return anything, but has been a playmaker as a receiver throughout training camp and the preseason. If it were up to me Jaydon Mickens would be the man for job, but of course, it isn't up to me. I have a sneaky suspicion that if Rashad Greene has another good performance, as he did last week, that he'll be the Jaguars sixth receiver.
This site is not affiliated with nor endorsed by the NFL or the Jacksonville Jaguars."NFL" is a registered trademark of the National Football League. "Jacksonville Jaguars" are a registered trademark of the Jacksonville Jaguars. The information provided on this website is provided for information and entertainment purposes only. RSS Feed.