There was a lot to like in the Jacksonville Jaguars 23-21 victory over the Pittsburgh Steelers. After looking at the tape, a few players really stood out, both good and bad.
First and foremost, quarterback Blake Bortles was almost perfect. He played even better than his 11-15, 118-yard, 1 rushing touchdown performance would suggest. Three of Bortles' four incompletions were outright drops, and Blake did a great job of climbing the pocket and firing strikes. His touchdown run had many in the Jacksonville front office holding their breath, but that's what you get with a competitor like Bortles.
While we're throwing out accolades, the Jaguars offensive line did a great job. They only allowed a pair of sacks (which is a low number in a preseason game) and everyone outside of Luke Joeckel played very well.
Moving on to the running backs, Denard Robinson showed great vision while Toby Gerhart ran very hard, but still missed plenty of holes. Bernard Pierce dropped a pass which didn't help his cause, but he did show great athleticism when he hurdled a Steelers defender.
Rookie Corey Grant made the most of his touches, although the stat sheet only shows two carries for six yards. Grant also showed elusiveness by taking a check down pass 15 yards up the field.
The only running back who really hurt himself was former seventh-round pick Storm Johnson. Johnson dropped a pass, didn't do much with his touches (7 carries for 16 yards) and most importantly fumbled a kickoff return. That alone will likely get Storm excused from kickoff duties and if he's not making an impact on special teams it's going to be very difficult for the Jaguars to justify a roster spot for him.
The tight ends played fairly well as Julius Thomas caught the one pass which he broke his hand on and Marcedes Lewis had a reception. Clay Harbor dropped a wide open pass before atoning for his mistake by leading the team in receiving with two catches for 35 yards including a 31-yard touchdown. Nic Jacobs did a nice job blocking and that's pretty much what he's going to be in this league….Ben Koyack has a real chance to make the team as he blocked well and caught both the passes thrown his way.
As for the wide receivers, Allen Hurns dropped a perfectly thrown Blake Bortles pass and that's troubling, considering his issues with drops last season. With Marqise Lee battling a hamstring injury (soft tissue injuries have a tendency to last), Hurns will be counted on in the passing game….Arrelious Benn caught one pass for 27 yards and did a nice job blocking and on special teams. He certainly didn't hurt his case for a roster spot….Bryan Walters showed pretty good hands and an ability to run routes. With that said, he's still a long-shot to make the roster….Allen Robinson caught every pass thrown his way and he continues to be the team's No. 1 wide receiver….Tony Washington made a couple of tough catches but also had a big drop. Guys like Washington, Walters and Kasey Closs have to be near perfect and that might not be enough to make this roster.
Jaguars After Further Review- Offense
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