Deep breath .... and we are clear. One preseason game down - No injury wasp. Oh the injury bug is there. It's visiting every camp in and around the NFL. Bugs are gnats and mosquitoes. They are your hamstring pulls, your tweaks even your hairline fractures. The injury wasp is the insect that inflicts big damage, torn ACLs, achiles etc...The coaching staff has given Jalen Ramsey almost an entire week off. Others that are out are a laundry list including James Sample and Michael Bennett. No gasp worthy injuries. Which is more than good news.
This week will be the most important week of the pre-season before the Jags and Packers hook up on September 11th at Everbank. Wednesday thru Saturday with Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in town expect things to get a bit chippy. It's hard to believe that just a year ago Tampa was fresh off a season that netted them the top overall pick in the draft. And by week 12 there they sat, at 6-6, with an outside look at the post-season. Right where Jaguars fans expected to see this team. The Bucs in year 1 were ahead of the Jags in year 2 of their rebuilding process. Don't think that has gone unnoticed or forgotten. Both teams have a stable of offensive talent with young and ready to insert rookie talent on defense. Ramsey & Vernon Hargreaves III get to continue their sunshine state serenade at the next level. This will just be the preface to what could be a pretty interesting decade long dance.
Vernon Hargreaves is expected to bring a new island to Tampa.
This week will begin the process of the coaching staff getting out their magnifying glasses and they will really start to dissect what they see in the evaluation process. Rosters sit at 90 and in the next two weeks that number will need to get down to 70.
This week can get you on the bubble. If you fall off getting back on will be a marathon in sandals talk. Gus Bradley said they having already started to get that ball rolling. “We are doing it right now. We are starting to do it now more and more, said Bradley. Today we had one-on-one match-ups. There are things that we are putting together just to see guys and we will try to do anything we can to evaluate these guys, whether it is in team drills, individual drills and then those match-ups give us a real good look at it.”
Everyone has a game under their belt now. Miami Heat GM and Former NBA Coaching Great Pat Riley always talked about what separates those that are great from those that are average is the ability to adjust from game to game. It's almost like stacking bricks. If you laid a solid foundation against the Jets what helps you stack that next brick against the Bucs.
If you haven't heard much about a non starter up and to this point, this week is for them. I look at the 4 weeks of the preseason like 4 rounds of a Major in Golf. This week is the equivalent to moving day. If you don't make a move now then you are putting yourself in a position in which you have to shoot a 63 on Sunday. Just like Matt Kuchar did in the Olympics. It earned him the bronze. However, there are no medals for roster spots.