The third preseason game is widely considered the dress rehearsal for NFL teams. If this is the case, then Jags fans better start getting excited. The Jaguars passing attack was on full display on Friday night in Duval and the Detroit Lions first team defense had no answer for Blake Bortles.
Bortles completed 20 of his 29 passing attempts for 245 yards and a touchdown against the Lions, but more importantly he had no turnovers and was not sacked. Not once. Instead, the offensive line protected Bortles so much…he ran for a team high 38 yards.
In his first full preseason as the starter, Bortles has looked like a completely different quarterback than we saw in 2014. The 2014 version threw 17 interceptions and just 11 touchdowns. Bortles has yet to turn the ball over this preseason. Again, it is just the preseason.
I know this…but you can’t help but like what you’re seeing.
I do still see some major question marks on the offensive side of the ball and with the offensive line. They seem to have figured out pass protection, but not run blocking.
In the “dress rehearsal” Jaguars running backs only managed 30 yards on the ground. Bortles out gained a combination of 6 Jacksonville running backs with 38 yards on his own.
This worries me as we enter the regular season.
In order for the Jaguars passing game to continue trending upwards, the running game will have to become a major part of the offensive attack. Eventually defenses will realize that the running game isn’t a threat and key up on Bortles again…then we’ll see exactly what we saw in 2014.
Bortles will end up running for his life, throwing ill-advised passes and the Jags will continue to lose games.
As far as the defense goes…your guess is as good as mine. There have been shades of great play, but more shades of mediocre play. The Jaguars first team defense gave up 173 yards and two touchdowns to Matt Stafford on Friday. The defense also allowed over 100 yards on the ground throughout the game.
They had no sacks on Stafford and no answer for Golden Tate.
Having said all of this, when it comes to preseason you have to take the good with the bad and then take all of it together with a gigantic grain of salt. It could all mean nothing…or it could be a perfect representation of what is to come.
One thing I know for sure at this point is that the 2015 Jacksonville Jaguars will not be as bad as the 2014 version. This could simply mean a boring 6-8 win season in Duval…but improvement is really all you can ask for at this point.
Now let’s completely ignore the 4th preseason game and get ready for the battle of the big cats on September 13th. It’s nearly time to finally play some meaningful football.
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