The Jaguars face in-state rival Miami in Week 3 of the preseason
By Kathy Clark
Will the Jaguars, with most of their starters on the field, win their first preseason game of the season at Miami?
The Jacksonville Jaguars face the Miami Dolphins in the third preseason game. If they win this game and the game in December against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at home, they will have won the battle of the state of Florida.
This is the game Jaguar fans have been waiting for all preseason. The third game is considered the “dress rehearsal” – the one that NFL teams play the majority of their starters for at least one quarter. It will be a great test for the Jaguars first-team players to see what they can do in live-action.
Time to learn about the Miami Dolphins – The Dolphins, like the Jaguars, made changes during the offseason. They have been mired in mediocrity for many years. For example, the last six seasons their record has been 7-9, 6-10, 10-6, 6-10, 8-8, and 8-8. The Dolphins made a decision to make big changes.
Per ESPN.com’s NFL power rankings for the upcoming season, the belief is this is a franchise made an effort to escape mediocrity but did not make enough moves.
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"“There wasn’t much roster improvement for the Dolphins this off season but they deserve credit for knowing they weren’t a signing or two away,” writes the staff at NFL Nation."
Bottom line is they will enter the 2020 season with $100 million in cap space and 12 draft choices. Did they “blow up” the team? Let’s put it this way – most pundits put them at the bottom of the NFL’s rankings. To compare, the Jaguars are ranked in the middle of the pack, 18th or 19th by most experts. NFL.com’s Dan Hanzus was one analyst who had them at 18th, overall.
The Dolphins fired the previous coach, Adam Gase, and hired Brian Flores from the Bill Belichick school of coaching. He was linebackers coach and sometimes defensive play caller for the New England Patriots. He has held a variety of positions with the Patriots since 2004. This is his first experience as a head coach.
A similarity to the Jaguars is the quarterback position. The Jaguars released their starter Blake Bortles and signed free agent Nick Foles. Miami traded their number one quarterback Ryan Tannehill and signed journeyman free agent Ryan Fitzpatrick. The similarity ends there since Foles is a considerable upgrade over Fitzpatrick.
Later the Miami traded two draft choices to the Arizona Cardinals for Josh Rosen. This could be a huge success since Rosen was a high draft choice prior to the 2018 season. Fitzpatrick has been named the starter, but according to Pro Football Talk, It’s not accurate to anoint him as the starter for the season.
"As Flores said about Rosen, “We need to see improvement. He can’t take as many sacks as he’s taken. He’s got to get command of the offense and get the ball out quicker.”"
He went on to say that he is not ready to name a starter until after the fourth preseason game.
A win would be great and this game to build momentum for the Jaguars. It would appear to be an easy win for the visitor on paper for three reasons. First, Jacksonville has a more experienced head coach in Doug Marrone. Next, the Jaguars have an experienced Super Bowl quarterback in Foles. Also, Jacksonville has a consistent roster of players who are used to playing together.
The Jaguars were so close to climbing the top of the mountain in 2017 and saw a sharp decline in 2018. It is obvious from comments by writers, coaches, and players that they learned from last season and don’t want to repeat of 2018. I believe this is true. Go Jaguars!