Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said he was pleased with some of the things he saw Thursday night in the team’s 24-20 loss to the New Orleans Saints.
It may have been a small sample of the team’s offense, but ball control will continue to be its calling card.
"“I was pleased with a couple things. Obviously the first drive, we were able to convert, three-for-three on third downs in that drive, which is key. I thought we ran the ball well,” Marrone told the media following the game.”"
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Through three quarters, the Jaguars showed they were the better team. There are no moral victories, but there are plenty of positives to build on. More than 62,000 fans were on hand as the Jaguars took their first step toward another playoff run.
"“I thought Blake did a nice job of stepping up in the pocket, especially that one ball that he had some pressure coming on the outside. We had two linemen that were out prior to the game. I think it’s one of the things that people overlook with Blake, being able to have the ability to run,” Marrone added."
Here are three things we learned from Thursday night.
The Backup Quarterback Position Is Better
Bortles may have played the first series of the game and led the Jaguars to their first touchdown, but the game belonged to Cody Kessler.
Kessler was 14 of 17 for 130 yards and a touchdown. While he was proficient in his intermediate passes, you could tell he had full command of the offense. That’s important because Chad Henne was the man behind Bortles and basically held a clipboard for four seasons.
He connected with Scott Orndoff in the third quarter.
Bortles is one of the toughest and most durable signal callers in the NFL, but should he go down with an injury, the position should be in good hands.
DJ Chark Is Pretty Good
DJ Chark had a solid week in training camp and followed it up with a good game. The second-round pick out of LSU was targeted once and had one catch for 15 yards, but his presence on the field wasn’t left unnoticed. Chark also looked good on special teams.
I said I was curious to see how the 6-foot-4 receiver would look against opposing defensive backs. He continues to show he can become a go-to player on offense and should flourish in the red zone.
"“It was exciting to be out there for the time that I was and to go in there and get quality reps with the ones and just seeing the speed of the game,” he said when interviewed after the game. “I really enjoyed that and my teammates helped me out and cheered me on. It was a great first experience.”"
Let’s see how he does against the Vikings secondary next week.
Injuries Are Costly
One player who needed to play on Thursday was Will Richardson. The right tackle has been MIA for the majority of training camp. He is competing for a reserve role on the offensive line. Richardson was listed as injured on the Jaguars list of players who would not see action.
Calais Campbell, Dante Fowler (PUP) and others were held out of the game because of injuries. While there is no doubt the two veterans will make the roster, Richardson should be one of the 53 players, but he needs to show his strength and power.
There were other players who took advantage of their chances on the field. Hunter Dimick had a solid night.