With the preseason comes a host of storylines that are no explored during the regular season. Can the team’s receivers finally separate themselves from the pack? Will someone become dominant on the defensive line? Is there a running back of the future hidden on the depth chart?
Fortunately for us Jags fans, there is no shortage of things to talk about for this game. Here are a host of points to pay attention to on Friday:
- Aaron Ross meets his old team: Ross will get to play against the Giants in his new home just months after winning a Super Bowl with them. Will they miss their ex-cornerback
- Aaron Ross vs Rashean Mathis Battle Begins: With Ross back from the Olympics the fight for the starting cornerback spot opposite Derek Cox will begin. They will have to show they can keep up at game speed if they want to avoid playing nickel.
- O-Line Depth: The Giants have very good pass rushers. It will be interesting to see if the offensive line can hold up against a pass rush that should be very strong.
- Defense vs “Elite” Eli Manning: Can the defense defend the pass effectively? The Giants lost a lot of receiving talent when Manningham left, but somehow Elite Eli manages to be clutch when he wants to be. It’s the preseason so he may not be forced into it, but if he starts to light up the defense we may be in trouble for the season.
- The Rushmen: Can the defense get pressure on Manning? Can they sack him? Sacks get a lot of attention and if the Jaguar show they are here to play they could begin to cement themselves as a very, very good defense. It all starts with the preseason.
- Wide Receiver Battle: With Blackmon sitting out, the Jags’ receivers will have even more opportunity on the field. Cecil Shorts has been running in Blackmon’s Z spot during camp, but can someone make the step up to contest with Shorts, Mike Thomas, and Laurent Robinson. Kevin Elliott seems to have a good chance, as does Chastin West.
- Play Calling: For the first time the fans will see Mike Mularkey’s scheming in action. A scrimmage is nothing more than a scrimmage and the preseason is nothing more than a glorified scrimmage, but the beginning of the new regime begins with the game against the Giants. Let’s see what the new coaching staff brought us.
- MJD-less Running: How effective will the Jaguars running attack be against a stronger defense without MJD? Can Rashad Jennings actually carry the load?
- Gabbert, Gabbert, Gabbert: Does Blaine have what it takes to pass against a high pressure defense? This strongly relates to whether the O-line can protect him, but if we continue to see sacks from phantom pressure then the development we’ve been hearing about may not be as great as we hoped.
As I was writing this I realized just how many things there will be going on during this game on Friday. I am either wicked excited that football is back or there is an actual possibility of some rather serious developments beginning to take place during this preseason. I am especially concerned about the wide receivers and whether they will look like a professional unit during the game.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims
Tags: Aaron Ross Blaine Gabbert Cecil Shorts Chastin West Derek Cox Eli Manning Jacksonville Jaguars Justin Blackmon Kevin Elliott Laurent Robinson Maurice Jones-drew Mike Mularkey New York Giants NFL Preseason Preseason Week 1 Rashean Mathis Training Camp