The Jacksonville Jaguars are going to the Super Bowl!
Okay we still need to temper things a bit here, but there was a lot of good on display on Friday night as the Jags topped the Pittsburgh Steelers 23-21. One of these things can be seen in the video above…and that’s where we’ll start.
Blake Bortles looked much improved on Friday night.
There was definitely a sense that Bortles was far more comfortable in and out of the pocket in this preseason tilt than he was for much of last season. Bortles was 11 of 15 for 118 yards Friday night and even added the 4-yard touchdown run above and played much of the first half of the game…which is unusual for starting quarterbacks.
I for one am glad Gus Bradley kept Bortles in to get extended work in the first preseason game.
Sure, you risk injury at this stage, but Bortles needs a lot of work after a rough rookie campaign and seeing as many different looking defenses as he can in the preseason can only help. In a preseason game you end up seeing far more personnel than in the regular season, so you kind of get more out of it…even if the 2nd and 3rd teams are less talented.
Outside of Bortles, I’m not sure I saw much offensively.
The running game looked okay, but not great. In limited action, Denard Robinson looked like he’s going to be the main attraction, rushing for 22 yards on just 4 carries. TJ Yeldon didn’t see any time on the field, so it’s hard to truly gauge the backfield at this point. Toby Gerhart did also show us that he might not yet be done in this offense, but I’m still in wait and see mode on him.
The drawback offensively has to be the injury suffered by tight end and huge off season free agent signing Julius Thomas. Thomas suffered a fractured hand and will miss the remainder of the preseason, but should be ready to go for Week 1. This probably won’t do much in the end, but does take some time away from meshing with Bortles.
Defensively there were some major lapses in the secondary.
Ben Roethlisberger orchestrated an easy touchdown drive early, completing all three of his passes for 59 yards and a touchdown. Rookie Landry Jones then took over and wasn’t quite as accurate as Big Ben but did throw for 200 yards and a touchdown against the Jaguars defense.
On the positive side of life, the Jags were able to limit the Steelers to just 75 yards rushing on Friday night. You do however have to remember that the first team guys didn’t play much and near consensus #1 overall fantasy football pick Le’Veon Bell had just two carries and one reception.
After one preseason game you have to like what you saw from the Jaguars on Friday night based simply on the fact that they looked far more in sync with each other than they did a year ago. We all know that preseason football is pointless and really tough to draw conclusions from…but with a team that has as far to go as this team does, you take every small victory you can.
Any and all feedback welcomed! Catch me on Twitter (@Ditti33) or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org!