The second preseason game of the season is a great test for the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The Minnesota Vikings had an impressive season in 2017 which included a top tier defense. Also, they added a new quarterback, highly paid Kirk Cousins, and are looking to make a run for a spot in the Super Bowl. There is no doubt that the Minnesota Vikings and Jacksonville Jaguars have much in common.
To begin preseason games are said to be meaningless. The final score may be meaningless )Jaguars won 14-10) but the game has significance for coaches and players both new and old as they implement new plays and integrate new starters into the lineup. There are three things I will focus on during this game.
First the play of the (hopefully) new and improved Blake Bortles. Next, the play of the revamped wide receiver corps. Finally, the first team defense…and how they look against a top-notch team.
This article is looking at the first team players which means the first half only for the most part.
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To start, let’s look at Bortles. He completed 12 of 20 passes with one interception. Bortles got off to a rocky start in his first two possessions. He threw a near interception in his first possession and an actual interception in his second possession.
After that disastrous start, he got it together with some well-executed screen passes. In addition, he had an impressive 14-yard run to the 1-yard line.
Finally, many of his longer passes were off target at times and very accurate at other times. Overall a decent performance by Bortles.
The revamped wide receiver corps did very little in the first half. To be fair the football wasn’t thrown their way very often. Marqise Lee had two receptions, Donte Moncrief had two receptions and Dede Westbrook had one reception.
Last but definitely not least, the defense played very very well. Jaguars defense end Yannick Ngakoue started with an impressive sack but followed it with an unnecessary unsportsmanlike conduct penalty.
He settled down and played an excellent first half.
Ngakoue had four tackles and one sack.
Cornerback Tyler Patmon played well in place of the missing Jalen Ramsey. defensive tackle Malik Jackson forced a fumble and defensive end Calais Campbell recovered. In conclusion, a rookie, safety Ronnie Harrison, who filled in for Tashaun Gipson, led the starters with five tackles.
No doubt the defense continued their impressive play from 2017.
In conclusion, let’s look at the good, the bad, and the ugly. To start the good is the excellent play of T.J. Yeldon. He has impressed in training camp and looked great against the Vikings. Next, we look at the bad. The Jaguars were 1 of 6 on third down conversions which is not winning football. The ugly is easy.
The men in Black and Teal committed 11 penalties in the first half.