Jaguars 53-Man Roster: Some interesting decisions made
By David Levin
The Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staff took an interesting approach to the 53-man roster on Saturday. Here is what we learned.
The Jacksonville Jaguars roster is finalized. Now let’s see if it stays that way.
As the coaches and front office trimmed the roster to 53 players, there were some noticeable changes made for the upcoming season and a few surprises.
If the Jaguars are going to win the AFC South this season, there needed to make changes that will hopefully be for the better.
I’m not one of those writers who are sold on this team automatically winning the division because the Indianapolis Colts don’t have Andrew Luck under center. As it has been discussed with a few of my football friends and colleagues, I have a genuine concern about how this team will bounce back this season.
I’m also worried about that at several positions on this roster.
But change is supposed to do you good, or in this case, is supposed to reverse the Jaguars fortunes. Here are a few things we learned from the 53-man roster this franchise has assembled.
Two quarterbacks, Three running backs – I understand with the Jaguars are doing here, but I don’t necessarily agree with it.
The team decided to cut Alex McGough and keep Gardner Minshew as its primary backup to Nick Foles. There is a belief that means he will become a dependable back up in time. However, McGough was able to engineer touchdowns during the preseason and showed great athletic ability.
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The team should look to add him to their practice squad. I do think the front office looks at the waiver wire of quarterbacks who were released and possibly make a phone call. Brian Hoyer makes sense.
Jaguars kept three running backs last year and it worked out poorly because of injuries. This year the team decide to do the same thing hoping that the trio of Leonard Fournette, Alfred Blue and Ryquell Armstead will have more durability and better luck.
This is also a situation where Jaguars could pick somebody up off the waiver wire. Given Fournette’s injury history, I’m surprised the decision was made to keep such a small number at the position.
This could be Taven Bryan’s last chance – This might be the most controversial decision by the Jaguars organization about the roster.
As I was talking with a national writer who covers the Jaguars on Thursday night, the team isn’t going to cut ties with a first-round draft pick it drafted last season especially one who played out of position for the first half of 2018.
It would appear the majority of the fanbase is already tired of the lack of production from the former Florida stand out. And while we have discussed other players who are at a crossroads in their career for the Jaguars, Taven Bryan faces a tough challenge to prove to the Jaguars and the league he wasn’t a wasted pick.
He should be at the top of the list.
This preseason was a mixed bag, mostly of bad play and poor decisions. Bryan did look good in the second quarter against the Falcons where he finished with three tackles and a sack. He needs to work on becoming a better interior lineman and needs to cut down on personal foul penalties.
Bryan will be part of a rotation that features Marcell Dareus and Abry Jones. But in truth, he will be judged on what happens with Datone Jones. The veteran defense of tackle was released by the Jaguars after having a solid preseason.
If Jones catches on with another team and has a better year, fans are going to be all over the front office for making what they believe to be a bad decision.
The Jaguars are undefeated – Yes, for the moment, they are. So are 31 other teams in the NFL. The slate is clean, but the bad taste of an 0-4 preseason still lingers. The Jaguars must come out on Sunday against Kansas City and show they are not the replica of a 5-11 franchise.
"“There weren’t many surprises in this year’s cutdown, but several young players – including first-year wide receiver C.J. Board, first-year cornerback Breon Borders and second-year linemen Brandon Thomas – played their way onto the 53-man roster with solid training camps,” writes John Oehser of Jaguars.com."
The biggest surprise from the preseason was the lack of time the starters had on the field, which was replaced with more reps in practice and a commitment to keeping everyone healthy. The Jaguars are just that and should be ready for the regular season without lingering effects of players being dinged up.
Still, until proven otherwise by Nick Foles, the offense, the coaching staff, and the defense, this a team that is only as good as its record.
We play the “wait and see” game.
I’m not shocked by most of what the organization did to shape the 53-man roster. I just wonder if there are a few more chess moves the front office and coaching staff makes before the team plays for keeps next Sunday.