Your Jacksonville Jaguars kick their 2018 (pre)season off with a loss at home over the New Orleans Saints by a score of 24-20. However, despite a one in the preseason L column, the Jaguars first and second team had quite the night, specifically on offense.
62,354 tickets were distributed at TIAA Bank Field, which marks a dramatic increase in compared to preseasons’ prior.
Let’s get to the observations.
Roster locks at QB look sharp
It appears one game into the preseason that the Jaguars have their two QBs locked in on the depth chart in Blake Bortles and Cody Kessler. Both quarterbacks performed well in their first game action of 2018.
Bortles completed 6-of-9 passes for 53 yards and a rushing touchdown. His longest pass went to Dede Westbrook for a 16 yard gain to put the team in the redzone, which was a perfectly placed ball across the middle of the field. Bortles ran a boot at the two yard line to give the Jaguars their first score of the night. Bortles and the Jaguars first team offense played 14 snaps.
Kessler had himself quite the game as well, going 14-17 for 139 yards and a throwing touchdown to tight end Scott Orndoff. His best pass of the night came on a 24 yard toss to receiver Shane Wynn down the left side of the field.
Tanner Lee entered the game in the fourth quarter and was immediately sacked twice. He went 4-8 with a fumble and two sacks.
Leon Jacobs looks the part at SAM linebacker
The Jaguars 7th round pick came out firing in his first career action, making a nice run stop with the starters and continuing to apply pressure as a rusher with the second team. Being that the SAM linebacker is on the field dramatically less than the rest of the position on defense, Jacobs received reps with both the first and the second team.
This appears to be Jacobs’ job to lose. He has taken first team reps at SAM during the entirety of Jaguars’ training camp, and that doesn’t appear to be changing any time soon.
6th WR battle ain’t over yet
Despite a solid training camp from receiver Rashad Greene, it doesn’t appear that he has the Jaguars’ sixth receiver spot on lock down.
Greene muffed a punt during the game, and his ability as a punt returner is vital in his battle for the position. As a receiver, Greene finished his night with two catches for 13 yards.
Meanwhile, Shane Wynn had a productive night, with three receptions for 39 yards and a rush for five yards. With the ability to return punts and consistently making plays, Wynn is making a case to win the job.
Jaguars kicker Josh Lambo hasn’t appeared to have lost a step, making two 49 yard field goals and hitting two extra points.
In his NFL debut, rookie punter Logan Cooke kicked two punts, the first being a beautiful 56 yarder with all the hang-time in the world, pinning the Saints at their own 18 yard line. His second was inside the 20 yard line as well, going 33 yards from the Jaguars 48 yard line.
-LB Blair Brown left the game, and was evaluated for a concussion
-LG Andrew Norwell was a late scratch with calf tightness
-WR DeAndre Smelter, S Don Carey, DT Eli Ankou, DE Dante Fowler Jr. (PUP), LB Brooks Ellis, OT Will Richardson, OT Jermey Parnell, WR Keelan Cole, DL Taven Bryan, DL Calais Campbell, and DE Dawuane Smoot were all inactive
Jaguars Release Jamaal Charles, Promote Linebacker DeLuca
The Jacksonville Jaguars have released running back Jamaal Charles after trading for Carlos Hyde and have promoted Linebacker Nick DeLuca. Charles was brought in to be a change of pace back for the Jaguars after placing Corey Grant on season-ending injured reserve.
The Jaguars traded for Carlos Hyde last week making Charles expendable. Charles accounted for 7 yards on 6 caries for the Jaguars. He also added two catches for seven yards. Running back Leonard Fournette has not been ruled out to play this week either and will travel with the team to London according to Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone.
Nick DeLuca is a rookie linebacker from NDSU. He was signed to the practice squad earlier in the season and has now been promoted due to the injury to linebacker Donald Payne. Payne will be out at least a couple of weeks with a knee injury.
We have promoted rookie LB @N_DeLuca49 to the 53-man active roster from the practice squad.
To make room on the roster, we released 11th-year RB Jamaal Charles. pic.twitter.com/OmiHd2wtvZ
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) October 22, 2018
Editorial: The Jacksonville Jaguars have nailed their own coffin
In electing to stick with Blake Bortles as their starting quarterback, despite benching him for a poor performance against the Texans and watching his backup Cody Kessler vastly outperform him in the same game, the Jacksonville Jaguars have nailed their own coffin.
Now sitting at a 3-4 record, on a three game losing streak, and in third place in the AFC South (the Titans own the tiebreaker for second place), it was clearly time for change to get this ship steered in the correct direction. Just seven weeks aggo, this Jaguars team was viewed as a potential Super Bowl contender. Right now, this team is projected to pick in the first half of the 2019 NFL Draft.
And they can’t blame anyone but themselves at this point.
“We can’t do s**t until we stop turning the ball over. Period. That’s just how it is,” head coach Doug Marrone said following the loss to the Texans. “…the first thing we’ve got to do is stop turning the damn ball over.”
In three consecutive games, the latest of which he barely played past halftime, Bortles has eight turnovers of his own: Five interceptions and three fumbles.
“I spoke to both quarterbacks this afternoon and told them that Blake will be our team’s quarterback. I believe this gives us the best opportunity to win,” Marrone stated in a release from the team after Bortles was named the team’s starter going forward.
In a 24 hour period, Marrone has stated that, while turnovers are the Jaguars biggest issue, the player who is responsible for countless amounts of turnovers gives the team the best chance to win football games. That is the message that is being sent to this team, and the Jaguars fan base.
And the team isn’t happy. Star cornerback Jalen Ramsey was quoted saying “It is no secret what’s going on here right now. Ain’t nobody going to say it because we can’t, but it ain’t no secret what’s going on and it ain’t right right now,” after the loss to the Texans. Given the circumstances, it’s hard to assume this was shade thrown at the quarterback situation.
Ramsey deleted a post of him and Bortles shaking hands on the field from his Instagram this morning.
Defensive tackle Abry Jones put the responsibility of the offenses deficiencies on the defense, quoted saying “We can’t let them [opposing offenses] score at all.”
The Jaguars have chosen to be complacent, and in doing so, this season will continue to plummet. The confidence is low heading into London this week, and the Eagles pass rush should have an easy job forcing Bortles into more poor decisions as this Jaguars team appears to be on track to a 3-5 record at their bye week.
This team was supposed go contend this year. At one point in September, the Jaguars had single digit odds to win the Super Bowl. But that is all in the rearview mirror, as the Jaguars have nailed their own coffin in naming Blake Bortles the starting quarterback of a team that is already beginning to implode.
Jaguars announce Blake Bortles will remain the starting QB
24 hours removed from his first career benching, where he was clearly outplayed by his own backup in a 20-7 loss to the Houston Texans, Blake Bortles has been named the starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars for Week 8 against the Philadelphia Eagles in London, per the team.
Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone announced in a statement: “I spoke to both quarterbacks this afternoon and told them that Blake will be our team’s quarterback. I believe this gives us the best opportunity to win.”
This comes under two hours removed from Marrone saying he had made his decision already but planned on addressing the team before releasing that information to the public. Bortles was benched after committing two turnovers against the Texans on Sunday, and Kessler completed 21/30 passes for 156 yards, a touchdown and an interception in his place.
Bortles has committed eight turnovers in the past three weeks.
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