by Cole Pepper
August 4, 2013
The Jaguars Saturday night scrimmage drew a team-estimated 19,000 fans to EverBank Field. What did we learn and how much will it matter next week when the Jaguars will have had their first preseason game in the books?
For head coach Gus Bradley and general manager Dave Caldwell, it will matter. For fans, it will matter less.
That being said, here’s what we learned Saturday night:
Even without the chance to hit the quarterback, the pass rush has the potential to be at least adequate. Jason Babin and Sen’Derrick Marks showed up in the pass rush. Marks turned in two straight disruptive plays at one point. Clearly, the Jaguars will need more than those two guys, but to this point in camp, Babin had been limited and nobody else was getting consistent pressure against the first team offensive line.
Speaking of the offensive line, Luke Joeckel continues to be solid. There was one play where a defender beat him around the end, but it appeared that Denard Robinson was supposed to chip on the pass rusher and did not, leading to pressure on the quarterback. Joeckel may be more comfortable at left tackle still, but he’ll be just fine at right tackle and he’ll be the starter from day one.
Robinson showed off his speed during a kickoff return for a touchdown and Ace Sanders brought the crowd to its feet on a punt return, but remember, there was no threat of being tackled. This was a ‘thud” practice. Still, you can see the potential. I want to see more, especially when the coverage teams arrive with bad intentions.
Sanders was not just a star in the return game, he continues to catch everything that’s thrown his way at wide receiver. If he can continue to do that, the Jaguars may have found their slot receiver and guy who can make a difference offensively.
It was good to see Marcedes Lewis be sent into the pass pattern. On a goal-line play, Lewis caught a corner route for a touchdown. The improvement of the offensive line should allow Lewis to be used more in the passing game. The Jaguars hope that trend continues.
I thought both Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne looked better. Not great, but decent. The Jaguars will take that for now. It’s a step in the right direction. I believe that Gabbert is still leading the competition (although the coaches aren’t saying), but he hasn’t distanced himself from Henne to assure the outcome. In a perfect world, the Jaguars would know who their starter will be by the third preseason game, so he can get the most important preseason snaps with the first team.
All in all, it was a good night for the Jaguars all around. A great crowd, solid performances from some areas that need to be better and plenty to build on.
Then again, I might totally change my mind this time next week.