David Garrard was improved from the image he left everyone with last season. He was not quite as apt to tuck and run with the football, and he didn't force passes into coverage quite as much. On one third quarter play, Garrard decided not to force a deep ball to a covered Northcutt and dumped the ball off to Maurice Jones-Drew. Overall, he still had some worrisome moves, like nearly throwing an interception that would have been a touchdown if the defensive back came down with it, and throwing another that would have been a sure interception if the defensive back could've held on, but he was a little better.
The tight ends were actually involved in the passing game. Last season's first-round draft pick, Marcedes Lewis had four catches for 35 yards, including a couple tough grabs and one where he was belted as soon as he caught it. It was very promising to see him making plays in the passing game, and he could've had two touchdowns as well. One was negated by a missed pass interference call, and another looked to be thrown away by David Garrard, but because of Marcedes size, it was just barely overthrown for the leaping Lewis. Greg Estandia and George Wrighster each had a catch, and finally it looks like the Jaguars found an offensive coordinator in Dirk Koetter who knows how to utilize the tight ends in the passing game.
Rookie Reggie Nelson was all over the field. Despite splitting time with veteran Sammy Knight, Nelson tied for the team lead in tackles with seven, including a sack and forced fumble on Titans quarterback Vince Young. He flashed his speed and play making ability, now the real thing to be seen is how he does in coverage. Young didn't test either of the Jaguars safeties, only throwing about three or four passes over 10 yards in the air.
Pro-Bowl cornerback Rashean Mathis added to his franchise record for interceptions against the Titans, pulling in an overthrown pass by Vince Young. Mathis continues to be a ball-hawk in the secondary.
The young safeties provided a nice "safety" net for the Jaguars. The Titans seemingly ran all over the normally stout Jaguars rushing defense in the game Sunday, but Gerald Sensabaugh and rookie Reggie Nelson made touchdown saving tackles down the field on the running backs. Both flashed their potential on some big plays.
Finally, rookie John Broussard made one of the best plays by a wide receiver that the Jaguars have seen since the days of Jimmy Smith. David Garrard saw Broussard get behind the secondary and threw the ball downfield to a wide open Broussard who stretched out and hauled in the pass for a 47 yard touchdown. Broussard ended the day with 2 catches for 55 yards, but he showed the speed the Jaguars have lacked in their receiving corps since Jimmy Smith retired.
Jaguars: The Silver Lining
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