Chad Henne stepped into Everbank Saturday night and used his top two receivers to march down the field and score a touchdown on the Jaguars first drive of the night. Henne had the luxury of a full complement of skill position players (aside from Marcedes Lewis) around him and he took advantage. Unfortunately the rest of Henne’s night was not nearly as efficient as his first drive.
The defense was no different, often looking at a loss on how to defend Michael Vick but then pressuring him and forcing him into some bad throws. Here are some more specific observations from last night’s 31-24 loss.
- Chad Henne had an up-and-down night, but the most encouraging part of the offense was seeing Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts III back on the field together. Those two young players could ascend into one of the top receiving tandems in the league when Blackmon comes back from his suspension. Shorts and Blackmon saw a combined 9 targets during their short time on the field and that trend will continue when Gabbert gets back in the lineup.
- Jordan Todman is doing his best to crack the running back rotation going into the regular season. With Justin Forsett missing time, Todman went and ripped off a 63 yard touchdown run on the way to a 8 carry, 105 yard rushing night.
- The defensive line did a good job for the most part of pressuring Michael Vick throughout the night, forcing him to leave the pocket multiple times. Unfortunately the Jaguars didn’t always have contain and Vick managed 53 yards rushing on almost entirely broken plays. The first string defense did a good job with the running backs however, holding LeSean McCoy to only 9 yards on 5 carries.
- The second and third string units continued to struggle a bit as they have all preseason, particularly on offense. The Jaguars only managed one second half touchdown – a pass from Chad Henne to Allen Reisner – but the defense allowed 15 points in the fourth quarter. Matt Scott still looks overwhelmed and threw a few more near interceptions before being replaced by Mike Kafka.
The Jacksonville Jaguars looked probably the sharpest they have all preseason, especially the young and new faces on defense. Dwayne Gratz and Jonathan Cyprien both looked to be in the right places for the most part and the defensive line was disruptive. Most surprisingly, Andre Branch showed up and made the box score with a sack late in the second half. With one game left before the regular season, the coaches are going to have to look at the backend of the roster more extensively and see which players aren’t going to make the final roster.
We’ll have more extensive analysis with some Pro Football Focus numbers coming up soon.
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89