The Jaguars reserves played well during the entire preseason. This may be a positive for the future. The starters were consistently outplayed and outhustled but the reserves held their own in every game. The pundits will say that this means little or nothing but that is not true. The Jags reserves played the reserves of the opposing team so it was a level playing field. This gives Coach Doug Marrone some food for thought when he picks his 53 man roster. Also, this may also bode well for the future since many of the reserves are young players. These players may be our starters of the future. The reserves play answered some questions that have plagued the Jaguars throughout the preseason.
The most frequent comments on the Jaguars blogs were about reserve quarterback Brandon Allen. Fans wondered why he wasn’t given a chance to play. Coach Marrone took much of the blame. Fans, in fact, were insistent that he should not only play but possibly become the starter. However, he showed by his play that he is not ready to lead the team. The team moved well under his control and in addition, he has a good arm and is an accurate passer. Sadly his three interceptions showed his lack of readiness. Although his potential is obvious, he is not ready to be the starter.
The disappearence of Allen Hurns continues to be a mystery. Reserve receiver Dede Westbrook certainly showed his talent and abilities. The only question would be…why is he playing in the fourth preseason game? Surely if the Jags let him go he will immediately be picked up by another team and has a chance to become a star. The reserve receivers have looked good during the preseason. The wide receivers as a group continue to be a positive for the Jaguars.
The reserve offensive linemen had ample opportunities to show off their talents. They opened holes for the running game and did a decent job of pass protection. The first team was unable to do this at all in prior games. Several first team linemen played and played a variety of positions. Reserve lineman Earl Watford showed good potential. It appeared that Coach Marrone wanted to take a long look at both starters and reserves to discover the starting line that gives us the best chance to win.
THE FINAL WORD
Doug Marrone has some tough decisions. Many of the reserves will never play another NFL game. Some will move on to other teams. The Jaguars will put some of them on their team roster and others on the practice squad. This group was the brightest light in a rather depressing preseason and I wish them the best in the future.