We saw what looked to be about as close to regular season game speed in the Jaguars Eagles game Saturday night. Bodies were flying around and the hits were real. The starters played into the 3rd quarter and looked respectable, leaving the game leading 24-16.
Two guys, Jordan Todman and Allen Reisner continue to look like guys who just continue to make plays no matter what’s the situation or who else is in their. Playing with the first team, Reisner made a nice catch for a TD and sealed the end on a 63-yard TD run by Todman. The 1st year running back out of Connecticut ran for more than 100 yards and looked like he solidified his spot on the team. He’s been productive from the running back spot and he can contribute on special teams as well.
Both of those guys are the type of player who hasn’t emerged for the Jaguars in the recent past. Players who have been in the league but are available because they haven’t been overwhelming anywhere else. If the Jaguars can get production out of either of those players it’s a bonus.
Luke Joeckel played most of the first half and had good and bad moments but he was healthy enough to play, and that was the important part.
There wasn’t that much emphasis on the quarterback since Blaine Gabbert has been named as the starter but Chad Henne was adequate and continues to be the ideal backup guy. The offensive philosophy is just right for the up tempo style of play. The quarterback needs to get the ball to the guy who’s open RIGHT NOW, instead of checking for something better downfield. Both Gabbert and Henne have looked effective when they take that approach.
Defensively, there was more pressure on the quarterback but it’s hard to really gauge how they’re doing because the opposition was Michael Vick, and he can make anybody look bad running out of the pocket. Jeremy Mincey looks like he’s taking it personally that he’s not considered a starter, and that’s good. There was an Andre Branch sighting on a sack, and the usually solid play by the linebacking corps is going to be a plus.
The defensive backfield looked young at times but those are the growing pains the team will put up with if they develop the way they hope. Dwayne Gratz had another interception, this time on a throw away by Vick but no matter. Wouldn’t it be nice if he turns out to be a guy that the ball just seems to find in those situations? The Jaguars haven’t had one of those in a while.
The team still has some issues on special teams coverage. Too many long returns on both kickoffs and punts. You hope that settles down once they get their regular personell in there instead of a lot of different guys who are just trying to make the team.
Next Thursday you might see Joeckel and perhaps Justin Blackmon play against the Falcons but that might be it among starters on offense. On defense, they might still want to get Johnathan Cyprien some playing time and perhaps some other young DB’s.
The first cuts are Tuesday, down to 75 so that means just 15 guys will be released. After that it’s 22 cuts down to the 53 man roster. That comes after the Atlanta game.