Cole Pepper and Sam Kouvaris discuss the Jaguars 31-24 preseason loss to the Eagles, including the Jaguars offensive potential, defensive issues and the impending first round of cuts.
by Cole Pepper
August 24, 2013
The Jaguars (0-3 in the preseason) lost to the Eagles(2-1) 31-24 in the third preseason game of the year. Chad Henne started and played into the third quarter, presiding over three touchdown drives. Here are my takeaways from the game:
Henne’s performance: Henne started strong, directing a 12-play, 90 yard touchdown drive that resulted in a scoring toss to Justin Blackmon. But his inconsistency continues to rear its ugly head. He followed that drive up with a 3 and out and an interception. The other Jaguars touchdown drives were a one play drive (Jordan Todman going 63 yards for the score) and a third quarter drive against the Eagles second teamers. Henne’s final numbers: 11/18, 106 yards, 2 touchdowns, one interception. Not bad on their face, but after completing 5 of 6 on the first drive, Henne completed 6 of 12 thereafter.
Jaguars Triplets: Maurice Jones-Drew, Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon all started. That’s the trio that the Jaguars are expecting to lead the offense this year. Jones-Drew looked good on 7 carries for 28 yards. Shorts caught the first pass of the game for the Jaguars and Blackmon made an immediate impact, catching that first touchdown and finishing with four catches for 50 yards in parts of three quarters of play.
Pass Rush: Aside from a Roy Miller sack early on the first drive and an Andre Branch sighting in the second, the Jaguars starters didn’t show much to assuage doubts about the pass rush. Too often, Michael Vick had so much time that he went through his reads, then decided to run, then decided otherwise, only to complete a long pass.
Defensive Line position battles: As referenced earlier in the week, the Jaguars probably have six guys competing for two spots. Branch is one of them. Nobody put the battle to rest. Expect those decisions to be highly influenced by the preseason finale.
Wide Receiver Depth: There were opportunities in the second half, but while Henne was in the game, no wide receiver who is battling for a roster spot made any plays to open eyes. Jeremy Ebert made some catches later in the game and showed some ability. If he can show that he can play on special teams, Ebert may be the last wide receiver to make the team.
Player of the Game: Jordan Todman (8 carries, 105 yards and a touchdown). There isn’t much that I don’t like about Todman. He has great acceleration, is patient with his blockers and doesn’t just go down at the first contact. He’s just what you want out of a backup running back. Only, the question is, is he the backup? When Justin Forsett comes back, it will be interesting to see how Gus Bradley handles things.
Who hurt their cause: Nobody in pass coverage did much to impress, neither did the pass rushers. But the guys on the bubble, like Branch, actually made some plays. Uche Nwaneri had a rough game, especially late in the second and early in the third quarters, but he’s not on the bubble at all.
by Cole Pepper
August 23, 2013
The Jaguars face the Eagles in the third, and traditionally most important preseason game of the year. The Jaguars will be without Blaine Gabbert and Marcedes Lewis, but most of the rest of the starters will play into the third quarter. Here’s what I’ll be looking for:
- Chad Henne’s play. The quarterback competition may be over, but there is no guaruntee that Gabbert will be available for the season opener against Kansas City on September 8. Henne hasn’t shown much this preseason and despite stated intentions early in camp, he never got the time with the first team offense during the first two games. He’ll get his chance Saturday. He’ll have both Cecil Shorts and Justin Blackmon in the lineup
- Pass Rush. It’s been a theme all preseason. Sen’Derrick Marks flashed in the first preseason game, but the Jaguars need to show more, especially from the group working behind Jason Babin. Andre Branch has not looked like he can make a difference. Ryan Davis and Pannel Egboh have flashed. Jeremy Mincey has had his moments. Assuming that Babin and Tyson Alualu are safe to make the roster, there are six guys fighting for three two spots.
- Joeckel’s Return. The Jaguars first round pick, Luke Joeckel missed last weeks game with a hip injury. He needs more time in live fire at right tackle (although he has certainly looked the part). It’s also important for the cohesion of the offensive line to have him in there. They need to learn to trust him on the outside.
- Who plays when? The third game is the best indication of how the coaches and scouts visualize the roster. If somebody, say, Ryan Davis plays a lot more than Andre Branch, then you know that Branch has an uphill battle to make the team. The first line of cuts are due Tuesday. The Jaguars will have to cut the roster from 88 to 75 by then. Of those 75, 53 will be on the active roster and another eight could be on the practice squad. That makes 61 of the 75 who will remain after Tuesday’s first cut will be in the locker room on opening day. Tuesday is a big day for a lot of guys who will only play a quarter or so Saturday night.
- Tempo. The Jaguars offense showed an up-tempo pace against the Jets last week. With Henne in there, can they do the same? Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch has been working toward reducing the time between snaps all off-season.