By most accounts, the Jacksonville Jaguars first preseason game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this past Friday was an unquestioned success. The first team defense looked dominant, especially the defensive line, and while the first team offense struggled, rookie quarterback Blake Bortles played about as well as anyone could have hoped.
One player who failed to have his name called was Marqise Lee, the 2nd round pick out of USC. With veteran Cecil Shorts III and fellow draft pick Allen Robinson both held out of Friday’s game, Lee was expected to get plenty of looks as the number 1 receiver with the starters. Lee failed to get any looks and somewhat surprisingly was pulled after only 16 snaps. It seemed odd that he made no impact, but some quotes from head coach Gus Bradley indicated a lack of effort on every play factored into his decision.
“I think that’s one of those things we’re looking at – it’s the consistency. Run your routes [like the football] is coming to you. You can’t change speeds. You can’t choose when and when not to. I’ve told you before that I’ve seen him switch to where he’s more focused… I’d like to visit with him about what happened [Friday]. He did play good, but he could have done some things even more precise. It wasn’t exactly where we need him to be.”
– Jaguars Head Coach Gus Bradley on WR Marqise Lee
Bradley isn’t one to publicly criticize his players, and even here he tries to sandwich it in between some praise. The lack of production from Lee can be partly attributed to Chad Henne and the offensive line, but clearly Bradley thought Lee could have done more. Lee will likely start again Thursday night, and hopefully Bradley will have better things to say after that.
– Daniel Lago