. Blake Bortles was very, very good. He wasn’t perfect as he underthew a potential touchdown to Denard Robinson and threw behind Rashad Greene on a completion, but he was still excellent, and continues to ascend. Bortles looks like a completely different quarterback from what we saw last year, and he appears to have a pretty good grasp on Greg Olsen’s new offense.
. “He took another good step today to go on the road and stack up another good performance,” Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said. “He’s learning. His preparation has been outstanding. I think that he has kind of a routine that he does to warm up his arm before practice and I think he’s developing a routine how he wants to go about his week of preparation. All those things are good. I think what I’m pleased about is he’s seeing some benefits of playing some pretty consistent football. We just need to add to it.”
The Jaguars offensive line did a fantastic job in pass protection, and they were able to move people in short-yardage situations. The line might be the most improved position group over last season and it was evident on Saturday night.
. “They did a really good job,” Bradley said after the game. “I think we need to continue to do what we’d hope in preseason. We’ll see even more split packages and things like that in regular season. They’re doing a nice job. Had a couple of really tough pressures that were brought up and our guys made the right calls and communication took place. Gave Blake a lot of time. It was awesome.”
In the fourth quarter, right tackle Austin Pasztor was beaten soundly off the snap by Damontre Moore. Pasztor was a starter last season and that alone shows how much depth the group has.
. Active hands on defense. The Jaguars defense did a great job of not only batting down passes, but competing in the secondary. After the Steelers scored with absolute ease last week, the pass defense was a concern, but the Jaguars played really well. They helped shut down both Eli Manning and Odell Beckham, Jr.
. More drops by the receivers. The epidemic of dropped passes are beginning to look more like a lack of talent and less like simple concentration issues. Allen Robinson dropped a pair of easily catchable balls and Allen Hurns continued to drop passes. These are things that can be ironed out, and they need to. The drops are leaving valuable points on the field.
. “ I think I could have gotten out of my break just a little quicker,” Jaguars wide receiver Allen Robinson explained. “I think I could have got my head around faster and gave myself a better chance to adjust to the pass.”
3’s instead of 7’s. The Jaguars starting offense was able to move the ball with relative ease and then a big penalty or a big drop would stall their drives. We will see more next week when the starters play longer against a playoff team from last season like the Detroit Lions. Still, the Jaguars defense will not be a dominant unit and there isn’t a huge margin for error.
. “I think we did a good job,” Bortles said. “We had three drives where I think all three were 10 plays or over. I think it was good. Obviously, you want to get six in the red zone instead of three, so we kind of shot ourselves in the foot a couple times with the penalty. We had some missed opportunities but I think overall, the guys did good. We ran the ball well, I think the offensive line played really well.”
Chad Henne. Whenever a quarterback is playing with the “2’s” you expect to see some sloppiness. WIth that said, Chad Henne was at his worst on Saturday night. Henne has had a pretty good camp and a nice first preseason game against Pittsburgh so he can definitely bounce back, but if that’s what Henne is going to give the Jaguars in a backup role, they should save money and look elsewhere.
The Jaguars saw five key players go down with injuries on Saturday night. The most serious appears to be wide receiver Arrelious Benn, who broke his clavicle.
Gus Bradley had this update after the game:
“Josh Wells has a dislocated thumb; Arrelious Benn, a broken clavicle; Demetrius McCray, right knee contusion; Laroy Reynolds, it looks like an MCL sprain; Khairi Fortt, we’re going to do an MRI on his meniscus to take a look at that; Damian Copeland, right shoulder dislocation.”
You never want to see injuries and if you’re looking at it from a glass half full point of view, at least the injuries weren’t to expected starters. Still, these will affect the depth in the short term.