Blake Bortles got a lot of attention with his much-improved outing during the first preseason game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. T.J. Yeldon sat that game out as a precaution with a sprained finger. Both are worthy of attention, though.
Both of them are on the rise. This is good news for the Jacksonville Jaguars with their offensive attack reliant largely upon the second-year quarterback and rookie running back.
But it isn’t just preseason efforts or injuries that draw eyes to Bortles and Yeldon.
The two budding offensive stars are drawing attention because they are able to consistently perform well in practice. As noted by writer Gregg Rosenthal over at NFL.com, both Blake Bortles and T.J. Yeldon are winners in their second week of camp, stating:
"I’m expecting a big second year leap out of Bortles. He has reportedly looked much more mature in practices, and had a nice showing in the team’s scrimmage over the weekend. Yeldon is already listed as a starter at running back for the Jaguars and also received kudos for his performance in the scrimmage."
That scrimmage, like preseason games, is an evaluation tool more than anything else. The coaching staff wants a clearer understanding of how Bortles and Yeldon will play in game situations. So far, both players have proven they will rise to the challenge.
The next step in evaluating the two of them will be close attention during practice again and looking at how the two of them do in the second preseason game. Bortles likely won’t be kept on the field as long as he was during week one (30 snaps) but this will be the first chance for Yeldon to really impress against an unfamiliar defense. Expect him to continue his rise and live up to the hype coming out of Jacksonville.
These two guys are really on the rise. Expect big things.
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