Yesterday night the Jaguars hosted Chip Kelly’s Eagles in week 3 of the pre-season. The game itself was about as close as Gus would get to a regular season setting without actually playing for a 1.000 record. Like every other team around the league there are still many questions that need answered.
Bradley is slowly moulding his Jags franchise into a product worthy of the regular season. Last night gave him what was probably his greatest test in the pre-season, so it’ll be interesting to see how the game and in particular how individual players performed against a college-esque team. Here’s what I thought of the game:
Everyone loves to watch their team’s offense so let’s start with Henne and co.
Blaine Gabbert was named the starter as we all know, then found himself injured and so Chad Henne stepped in. In fairness to Henne he had an ok game though that’s not something to be immensely excited about if you are a Henne fan. Personally I found it was a game of two halves for Henne, he played well in the first quarter and for most of the second. Then things sort of tailed of towards the end of the game for him.
Let’s go with the positives then. He did complete some good passes initially, though a couple were more because of the Receivers’ awareness due to the ball being slightly under thrown or not leading the Receivers’ in the correct direction. Then again he got 1st downs and even more crucial he converted some nice 3rd downs, something the Jags have struggled with of late.
I also noticed that he panicked when his initial read was covered, never a good trait. Time and again he’d look for one receiver, saw he was covered had a quick scan of the field before throwing it away or being sacked. If he had taken a bit more time in looking at reads four times out of five there was an open receiver in the backfield. As for the INT, well I can’t really be mad about it, Barwin made one hell of a play on that ball.
Receivers’ had a good game overall. I’ll start with Justin Blackmon who probably outshone everyone else. He played a number of routes to perfection and his blocking was immense. In fact on Todman’s long TD he was basically the reason it went all the way. He did have one miscue with Henne where he ran what seemed to be a curl route and Henne seemed to be expecting a fade or streak but otherwise flawless.
Cecil Shorts III was an important aspect of the Jags offense. He made one great catch and also took some heat away from other Jags receivers‘. Like Blackmon he also made some nice blocks whilst no one was looking.
Ace Sanders didn’t feature much in the game. He had one pass caught and he turned the corner perfectly making a 2 yard loss a 6 yard game in an instant. Great to see. Also Andre Brown I noticed made a nice catch, he was enveloped by the Eagles DB yet still managed to push for an extra yard/yard and a half. Following on from Sanders, Jordan Shipley also made a nice play dodging an on-coming DB before getting a 1st down.
At Running Back the highlight reel belonged to Jordan Todman, perhaps it was a fluke? Perhaps not. Todman could have argued his case for becoming the next Jags starter after that performance. He found holes time and again. When a hole wasn’t there he was patient and waited for a hole to open up. He dodged countless tackles, quite literally made cuts on a dime. As for his speed that boy was quick. Arrogant… definitely… but he deserved to be after last night.
MoJo was no slouch though he also found some nice running lanes. He also consistently powered through tackles. Where Todman looked to dodge tackles, MoJo just ran straight through them. On basically every touch MJD managed at least an extra two yards from the initial point of contact on his runs.
Everyones talking about Denard Robinson. Personally don’t quite see where he fits in but that’s just my opinion. The Wildcat look didn’t work with him, you could see straight through the play and everyone knew where the ball was going. He ran ok but he’s not as powerful as MJD and not as elusive as Todman which brings me back to where he stands? I’m not sure right now.
The O-Line I didn’t spend to much time on though Luke Joeckel I watched intently on pretty much every snap. Imagine my disappointment when the game finished and he looked more like a UDFA than a 1st rounder. He was man-handled 80% of the time. On the TD pass to Blackmon he was flat out beaten and if it wasn’t for a quick release from Henne it would have been a sack. I think it was Cox he struggled with the most, Graham too. He settled in the 2nd Quarter but was still below average in my eyes. Very disappointed.
The Defense had a tall order playing the quickest offense in the league.
Johnathon Cyprien I wasn’t so sure of. On a lot of plays he was last man, and in fairness he never missed a tackle and never let a play surpass 15 yards if he was in the vicinity. That being said I have issues with him. Firstly he drops back, like way back. Too far in my opinion making it to easy for receivers to get open. Him and Posluszny also had a few issues, I don’t know if it was miscommunication but they blew a few coverage’s. The one moment that does stick out for Cyprien was the TD to Cooper, personally I’d say that was on him. Poor awareness led to Riley being wide open, Cyprien wasn’t even close.
Paul Posluszny had an up and down game. Made a great play on a blitz down the middle, then he underestimated Vick’s feet (something you should NEVER do) and what should have been a sack was an Eagles 1st down. On the other hand he made some nice tackles, bar the sack he didn’t miss a thing.
The Jags had a number of missed tackles, Mike Harris seems to stick out as does Geno Hayes. Staying in that area of the field Dwight Lowery had a poor game. Was beaten with ease by a number of receivers’ most notably Celek the TE. If Vick hadn’t overthrown it that was a TD score and it was entirely his fault.
On the plus side Gratz made a nice INT, it was quite low when it got to him so he did well to scoop it up. Geno Hayes also had a good game in run D, he closed up several gaps very well and sealed corners when required, he may have missed a tackle earlier in the game but I would say he redeemed himself.
The D-Line had a great game. Andre Branch showed up and was rewarded with a sack and pressured Vick constantly. Sen’Derrick Marks had a great game playing opposite Mathis who is no slouch at Guard. Jeremy Mincey was also unreal and made some great plays.
I said Jason Babin was one to watch, and how right I was that guy was on steroids or something. He made Lane Johnson look like a 3rd stringer and beat him several times. He was instrumental in one sack and pushing Vick out of the pocket on numerous occasions‘. Tyson Alualu was generally quiet though he did have a few nice plays a tackle for loss seems to stick out. Otherwise the rest of the D-Line were unstoppable.
I think I’ll give it a rest for now, starting to over think things. Overall the Jags had a good game, there are still issues, but Gus will fix them. I’m worried about Joeckel I won’t lie, he doesn’t look like a 1st round draft pick. Henne looks like one of the leagues best backups. If Gabbert does go down again I’m not that worried about Henne filling the void. The D-Line was unreal, they may have quietened down in the 2nd half but they still had a great game. I’m also quite excited about the Receiving corps, sucks we don’t have Blackmon for four games but we still have a more than capable line-up.
Bring on Matt Ryan’s Falcons.