The start to the Jacksonville Jaguars game was like something those in Duval haven’t seen in quite a while.
For quarterback Blake Bortles, the ‘dress rehearsal’ started off well as he connected with wide receiver Allen Hurns for a 13-yard touchdown to give the Jaguars the early lead over the Detroit Lions on the opening possession. Bortles went on to finish the night completing 20 of 29 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown — quite impressive.
Even more impressive on offense was third-down converisions as the team started out without a blemish going seven for seven and finishing the first half eight for nine. The offense also strung together three drives of more than 80 yards in the first half alone.
While the offensive line made a noticeable improvement as far as the amount of time they gave Bortles to throw, as a group it was a subpar showing at best. Zane Beadles and Luke Joeckel were an unsurprising reliability in pass protection while Brandon Linder sustained a left to injury and didn’t return to action. In Linder’s absence, Tyler Shatley stood as the lone bright spot for the offensive line tonight.
Offensively as a whole, the first-team did well considering that wide receiver Marqise Lee and tight end Julias Thomas didn’t play — but they had a hard time staying healthy. Hurns and Allen Robinson got dinged up, with Hurns held out from the rest of the game as a precaution after suffering tightness in his hip. Yeldon got his feet wet making his debut but didn’t do anything special.
When it comes to the defense, ‘lackluster’ is being too nice when talking about their performance not to mention the plethora of injuries sustained as they gave up 242 yards in just the first half.
Along the defensive line, the only standouts were the injuries as both Andre Branch and Ryan Davis left the game banged up. In the secondary, there were just too many blown coverages and big plays given up nd clearly, too much miscommunication — something they’ll need to fix quickly if they want a shot at stopping opposing offenses and trying to win the AFC South.
In two weeks when the Jaguars return to Everbank Field to open the regular season against the Carolina Panthers, let’s hope the plague of injuries doesn’t return.