10 Observations From the Jaguars-Bills Game

They say you're never as good as you might look in a preseason victory and you're never as bad as you look in a preseason loss. Jaguars fans hope that is true. Here are 10 observations from the Jaguars 35-32 loss at Buffalo.

Observation #1- Tyson Alualu is the Jags Best Player on D



It's impossible to know whether Ryan Fitzpatrick would've experienced the same success if the Jaguars missing starters were playing Saturday night, but you can see that the Jaguars defensive line wasn't the same without Alualu. The once-mocked first round pick is likely headed for a huge season.

Observation #2- Ryan Fitzpatrick is an Excellent Quarterback



Buffalo's caretaker at quarterback has turned into a playmaker. Fitzpatrick is obviously smart (Harvard grad), he can make all the throws and he is playing with a new-found confidence. It was clear to anyone with eyes that Fitzpatrick was the best quarterback on the football field.

Observation #3- David Garrard Is What He Is



The Jaguars quarterback is entering his 10th season and he's still a better runner than passer and he doesn't make anyone around him better. Garrard will make some plays with his feet and he usually beats up on the league's bad defenses, but you know what you're getting at this point in his career- a .500 quarterback that won't get any better.

Observation #4- The Jaguars WR's Will Struggle This Year



The names Mike Thomas, Jason Hill and Cecil Shorts don't strike fear into any opposing defensive coordinators. They shouldn't, they haven't accomplished much in this league and it appears as if that won't change this season. There's nothing close to a number one wideout, and however much the Jacksonville front office would like you to believe that letting Mike Sims-Walker go was the proper move, the results on the field show otherwise.

Observation #5-Kampman and Mincey Will Need to Play Their Best



The Jaguars have played three preseason games and have registered as many sacks as you or I. The team has played without Aaron Kampman, who's rehabbing his knee and Jeremy Mincey was sorely missed on Saturday night. If Kampman and Mincey aren't on the top of their games, the pass rush will be non-existent and the secondary will look worse than they are.

Observation #6-DuJuan Harris Will Earn a Living Playing Football in 2011



Earning a roster spot at running back on the Jaguars may be the toughest accomplishment in pro football. Jacksonville boasts a Pro Bowl starter, a backup who could start for half of the league and a third-string guy who is one of the premiere kickoff return men in the game. Still, DuJuan Harris is running like a man possessed and he will make it a tough cut for Gene Smith and should get picked up somewhere if the Jaguars can't find a place for him on the roster.

Observation #7-Maurice Jones-Drew Won't Fix the Passing Game



I hate to harp on the passing game but the NFL is a passing league and when you can't throw the ball effectively, you can't win consistently. Maurice Jones-Drew will open up some things in the passing game as teams will bring an eighth man in the box to stop the Pro Bowler but if your quarterback and receivers can't beat one-on-one coverage, you can expect the team to finish in the bottom-five in passing again.

Observation #8-Dawan Landry Must Play Better



The Jaguars safety play was atrocious a season ago and Dawan Landry was brought in to rectify the situation. Landry overran running plays last night, was a liability in coverage and didn't add the physical presence he was touted for. It's only preseason to a certain extent, but Landry has to play a lot better to earn his contract.

Observation #9-The Starting Offensive Line Is Improving



Although throwing around compliments after Saturday night's effort would mostly consist of blind homerism, there were some good signs from the Jaguars starting O-line. Pass protection was very good for David Garrard and if the team made more of a commitment to running the football they would've been more successful. The guys aren't there yet, but they seem to be "gelling."

Observation #10-Preseason Matters To a Certain Extent



Preseason means different things for different teams. For the Jaguars, it's all about working on the things that they struggled at last season- throwing the football, pressuring quarterbacks, two-minute situations.

If you're the New England Patriots or Indianapolis Colts, it really doesn't matter what the final score is because you know that you can win when the real bullets fly. The Jaguars don't get that benefit of the doubt because they haven't earned it. Jacksonville struggled with the same things they struggled with last season, with mostly the same cast of characters. Either the players they have aren't good enough, the coaches they have aren't good enough or the Buffalo Bills are some sort of "Super-Team". I think we know which of the three is the most likely.

It's not time to panic yet, but if the Jaguars starters are getting blown out by the Bills starters, and Ryan Fitzpatrick is 10 times better than David Garrard, there are real problems that won't magically go away in two weeks.

Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and the host of "The Sports Crunch" on the Aquarius 7 Broadcasting Network (national), and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie

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