While the final score in the fourth preseason game is largely insignificant, the Jaguars were able to pull off a 17-16 victory over the Washington Redskins. That final score was a nice moral victory, as well as a morale booster, but it doesn't truly tell the story of this match up. For the Jaguars, this game provided a test. This was Jason Myers’ first game as a starting kicker in the NFL. This was the last chance for players like Storm Johnson, Corey Grant, and Tony Washington to snag a roster spot.
This was the moment we had all been waiting for, and he missed it, wide right. It appeared that he pushed the ball just a hair. But calm down everyone . . . it was an extremely long attempt . . . one that Scobee could just as easily have missed. During the middle portion of the game, the Jaguars scored two touchdowns, which gave Myers two easy PAT tries, which he made with ease. The two touchdowns also gave Myers a chance to show off his deep ball, and boy did he show off! The Redskins had 0 kick return yards the whole game, thanks to Myers and his deep kickoffs. The true test for Myers, however, would be how responded the next time he was asked to kick a field goal. His next opportunity came late in the fourth quarter, with the Jaguars trailing by two. He was asked to make a 47 yard field goal that would likely win the game . . . the pressure was on . . . and he drilled it! All in all Myers looked good in his first game as the Jaguars starting kicker, and he will continue to improve as he gets more game experience.
Myers was not the only player of note for the Jaguars. 6th round pick, Michael Bennett, was able to show his inside pass rush ability all night. He also had a batted ball on a third down play to end the Redskins’ first drive. Fellow defensive lineman, Chris Smith, also had a strong game, recording a sack on the Redskins’ second drive, that sent the Redskins offense back to the sideline. In addition to these two young players showing out, rookie free safety, James Sample, was able to play in his first game as a Jaguar. He lined up all over the field and was able to make some big hits and show the coaches his coverage ability. In his first ever NFL game, Sample was impressive.
The offense had their moments too. Stephen Morris played the whole game at quarterback and did well for the most part, throwing for a touchdown, with no interceptions. The real competition was at the running back position. The Jaguars’ running back group is deep and there may not be room for a 5th running back behind Yeldon, Robinson, Gerhart, and Pierce, but don’t tell that to Corey Grant. Grant, the undrafted rookie out of Auburn, has been primarily a special teams player with the Jaguars this preseason. He has blazing speed and has shown it off on several occasions, returning the ball. In this game, however, he was able to show off what he could do as a running back. He had 5 carries for 74 yards, including a 40 yard run where he raced passed all the defenders to go untouched into the end zone! While Grant, looked impressive, the other player fighting for a running back spot, Storm Johnson, did not. Johnson had 7 carries for only 4 yards. If the Jaguars do keep a fifth running back, it will most certainly be Corey Grant over Storm Johnson.
This was a good night for the Jaguars and their backups. Some young players showed that their hard work this offseason has really payed off, while some may have played their last game as professional athletes. The end of the preseason is a bitter sweet time, but it’s mostly sweet for the fans, as it means the regular season is just a week away!
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