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Jags Look the Part in Dress Rehearsal
The evening began on a gloomy note. The summer weather of Jacksonville, Florida provided a grey atmosphere leading up to the game. Once the game started, the fans were treated to an experience that I hope happens week in and week out for 16 weeks of the regular season.
The first two drives by the first team offense, led by QB Blake Bortles, were everything you wanted as a Jaguars fan. First drive took 15 plays and 83 yards and resulted in a 13 yard touchdown pass to WR Allen Hurns. The second drive went 6 plays for 80 yards and was finished off by rookie RB T.J. Yeldon for a 1 yard touchdown.
The third drive of the game went for 14 plays and 83 yards but Jacksonville was stopped on 4th down. With this drive, the Jaguars did not have TE Julius Thomas for the game and I would expect him to be the target in the red zone. It also looked more like the offense, and coordinator Greg Olson, were trying out a couple of other plays to see how they looked on tape.
Coming out of the half, the Jaguars offense didn't skip a beat marching 63 yards on 14 plays that had K Jason Myers score on a 35 yard field goal.
If this is the offense that we are going to see each game, be excited Jags fans. be very, very excited.
Key Stats From Friday's Game
20/29 for 245 yards 1 TD, 4 rushes for 38 yards
3 receptions for 51 yards (3 targets)
8 rushes for 10 yards -- 1 TD, 1 reception for 12 yards
Is the Defense up to Par?
I do not think we have anything to worry about with the defense. We have some starters out due to injuries and feel that they are having backups fill in and do well.
SS Craig Loston looks ok playing for SS Johnathan Cyprien. He is a back up but getting good reps with the first team. You don't want it to happen, but if anything were to happen to 'Cyp', Loston is getting valuable learning time right now.
LB Telvin Smith seems to be around every play while he is on the field and new LB Dan Skuta made a couple big plays when Detroit was deep in their own end.
Jags are still without DT Sen'Derrick Marks and although the timetable for his return is soon, I hope they bring him back at the right time.
With the injury to DE Andre Branch and a time table for his return not truly known right now, there may be a need for some help at the end position. We will see over the next couple of weeks as players are cut from other teams.
As for the defense as a whole, They will be fine. If we can have the same level of play as last year, with this improved offense, it can make for an up year in Jacksonville.
First Cuts Complete
The Jaguars coaching staff, led by 3rd year head coach Gus Bradley, did not waste any time making their first cuts and topping the roster to 75. With putting DE Dante Fowler Jr and OL Josh Wells on injured reserve, there wasn't really much surprise to the cuts that were made.
WR Tandon Doss is the closest to a surprise as you come. With the depth we had, his only way on to the roster would have been at one of the return specialist positions but those look to be almost set thanks to WR Rashad Greene on punt returns and possibly RB Corey Grant on kick returns.
The rest of the cuts are as follows:
QB Jeff Tuel, WR Greg Jenkins, TE Connor Hamlett, OT Cody Booth, OG Jack Rummells, DE Camaron Beard, DT Eric Crume, LB Mister Alexander, LB Khairi Fortt, FS Desmond Cooper, CB Tommie Campbell, P Kasey Redfern
This coming week's game against the Redskins will see a lot of players trying to make their claim to a roster spot. For others, it will be a welcome rest and knowledge that the 2015 season is just a round the corner.