The Jacksonville Jaguars are gearing up for their third preseason game, taking on the Detroit Lions on Friday.
The third preseason game is typically viewed as a rehearsal for the regular season, with starters getting plenty of time to show how well they play together. It’s clear that head coach Gus Bradley would like to see his starters play well together, assessing how well they perform with a less-vanilla game plan.
We’ll leave the assessment of where the Jaguars are, as offensive, defensive, and special teams units, in comparison to where the coaches want them to be to the coaches. They know their expectations and they know how much development they can reasonably expect from the players.
For those of us watching the game, it’s a great opportunity to look at players who are intriguing, fighting for a roster spot, or need to step up and prove themselves. We’ve identified a handful of players to watch during this game.
Let’s dive in!
Source: Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports
1) T.J. Yeldon, running back, Jacksonville Jaguars
T.J. Yeldon will be making his debut for the Jacksonville Jaguars, finally stepping on the field after being held out as a precaution in the first two preseason games.
I expect Yeldon will get around 10 carries during the game and, ideally, he would put up averages per carry around four yards. That’s a decently high goal for a rookie running back with no previous experience through the preseason. Can Yeldon live up to it? That’s the question we’ll be waiting to see answered on Friday.
The excitement around Yeldon is very real. The Jaguars have big expectations for their rookie running back and they expect him to help carry the load on offense. He could single-handedly turn around a running game that has stumbled a times over the last two seasons (to put it nicely). He isn’t expected to do it alone, with a deep running back group in Bernard Pierce, Toby Gerhart, and Denard Robinson expected to get touches through the season as well.
How those touches are distributed (Gerhart is sitting the game out) during this dress rehearsal may give us some indication of how big of a load Yeldon will be expected to carry through the season for the Jaguars.
There is no player more exciting to watch on the Jaguars’ side of the ball during this football game. Keep your eyes peeled to see just how good Yeldon turns out to be.
Next: A rookie head to head at running back