The Jaguars preseason optimism took a big hit today as the injury bug bit starting quarterback Nick Foles.
Jacksonville Jaguars fans hoped that a new quarterback, a new offensive coordinator, and some exciting rookies would help the Jaguars turn the page on the very forgettable 2018 season. However the injury bug, endless penalties, loss of composure, and poor coaching decisions made this game look a bit like 2018 revisited.
Jacksonville fell to the Chiefs in the home opener, 40-26..
The game was never close but despite that, there were some positives to take into the next game. First, Gardner Minshew came in for the injured Nick Foles and played very well. He completed 22 of 25 passes for 275 yards and two touchdowns.
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He was calm in the pocket and appeared confident. He made good decisions and was very accurate with his passes. Wide receiver DJ Chark looked great with for catches for 146 yards. He looked the part of a number one receiver.
Another positive was running back Leonard Fournette. He ran hard and seemed to have his old quickness back. He had one fumble but according to the CBS announcing team of Ian Eagle and Dan Fouts he was brought down by a horse-collar tackle. There was no call by the officials.
The defensive line looked very good, Yannick Ngakoue lived in the Chiefs back field. Several other defenders played hard as well. Ronnie Harrison had six tackles to lead the team. Quincy Williams showed his speed in his first pro game.
While there were positives to talk about, there were plenty of negatives that affected the team’s play.
The Jaguars committed 10 penalties for 71 yards. Although there were at least four on the offensive line they played OK with two tackles who had never played in the NFL. Myles Jack was removed from the game for punching an opponent and Harrison had a taunting penalty.
The coaches kept running Fournette and it was obvious that he was exhausted by the heat. This was partially to blame for his fumble as stated by the announce team. Also, the choice to defer the kickoff to the second half and allow the Chiefs to race down the field, which put the Jaguars behind from the start of the game, was hard to understand.
"As Jon Kurland of Big Cat Country added, “The Jaguars (0-1) now enter a two game stretch against divisional opponents in an eleven-day period, …without their starting quarterback for the foreseeable future, and their starting left tackle’s health also in doubt.”"
Where do the Jaguars go from here? First reduce the penalties, next keep emotions in check, and stop running Fournette to inevitable injury.
I believe the Jaguars will make the necessary adjustments to play better. Finally, I am glad Marrone played Minshew in the preseason because he is our quarterback for the foreseeable future.