JagNation Game Preview: Jaguars vs. Dolphins

Jaguars vs. Dolphins - Game Preview August 11, 2007 - 7:30 P.M. Dolphins Stadium, Davie, FL Kickoff Forecast: 86 degrees, 50% chance of precipitation

It's been over eight months since we've last done a game preview, and I can't tell you how great it is to have the season right around the corner. As most of you know, the first preseason game isn't anything that should be taken too seriously, nor is any preseason game for that matter. There is no game-planning, starters shouldn't play much, and the outcome is simply rendered meaningless. If any of you have enough of a gambling addiction (problem) in which you bet preseason football games, the Jaguars are favored by 2.5.

Five Most Important Things for the Jaguars:
    1. Leave Miami healthy. The most important thing for the Jaguars is to leave Miami late Saturday night with a healthy team. Last season the Jaguars opened preseason in Miami, and Marcedes Lewis suffered a high ankle sprain in his first ever pro game. That injury basically ruined his rookie season. The only thing that really matters is that is that there are no injuries, especially to key contributors.

    2. Safety play. It is just the first preseason game, but everyone will be watching how Gerald Sensabaugh and Reggie Nelson play at safety. Hopefully, they put their best feet forward and set a tone for the season.

    3. Passing game. The passing game will take time to completely develop, but it would be nice to see some progress early on. The Jaguars will be keeping everything pretty "vanilla," but if the first team can put up some points, that will give the team and the fan base a nice boost.

    4. Special Teams. The Jaguars special teams unit was atrocious last season, and it cost then special teams coordinator Pete Rodriguez, as well as punter Chris Hanson their jobs. The Jaguars have a new punter in Adam Podlesh, as well as a new coordinator in Joe DeCamillis, and it is important that they get off on the "right foot."

    5. Gray vs. Couch. Quinn Gray has looked like a preseason superstar over the last few years, and his job is definitely on the line thanks to his $1.2 million salary for '07 (enormous for a third string quarterback). If Tim Couch can play well and run the offense, he could begin to move Gray out of a job.
What to look for:
    1. Wide receiver separation. The Dolphins secondary is pretty poor, and the Jaguars receivers should get some good separation this week.

    2. Secondary play. How will the Jaguars safeties match up early on against the Dolphins receiving corps of Chris Chambers, Marty Booker, and Ted Ginn? Can Scott Starks or Dee Webb supplant Terry Cousin as the nickel corner?

    3. Footwork of Byron Leftwich. A major emphasis of the offseason was to get Byron Leftwich's feet quicker, and to get the ball out quicker. Rome wasn't built in a day, but lets see if he shows some early progress.

    4. Linebacker play. The first team linebackers are expected to play well, but there is a huge battle for the remaining two or three roster spots between Nick Greisen, Pat Thomas, Tony Gilbert, and Jorge Cordova.

    5. Toefield vs. Pearman/ Wimbush vs. Owens. These four running backs are likely vying for just two spots, and the preseason will likely determine who makes the team. Currently, Toefield and Owens appear to have a very slight advantage over Pearman and Wimbush, but that could easily change with a strong performance by either.
Other notes:
    -Byron Leftwich will likely be seen for about 15 plays, according to Jack Del Rio, then David Garrard will take over for the next 15 plays. The rest of the snaps will by taken by Quinn Gray, Tim Couch, and Lester Ricard.

    -For a limited amount of time, the Dolphins Jason Taylor will likely line up against Tony Pashos. It will be a nice preseason test for both.

    -Lets see if Jimmy Farris and Charles Sharon can take their solid camp play to the actual games.

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