Rejoice ladies and gentleman, football season is back. After a slightly longer wait after the cancellation of the Hall Of Fame Game, NFL teams took the field for the first time Thursday Night.
The Jaguars traveled to MetLife Stadium to take on the New York Jets to open up the preseason for both teams. Here are a few notable things I saw from the Jaguars’ first action on the field:
Bortles looked sharp
There were questions whether Blake Bortles would or should play in the preseason opener. He did, and looked solid. Bortles played two series, and on both drives he drove the offense down the field and put up points. He went 6/7 for 105 yards, and the one incompletion was a catchable pass to Julius Thomas at the goal line on the opening drive.
Allen Robinson is on another level
Memo to cornerbacks guarding Robinson one on one this season: good luck.
Allen Robinson is quickly emerging as one of the best receivers in the league, and that was on full display Thursday night. Robinson worked this offseason improving his route-running and attacking jump balls, and the work he put in showed. He had 80 yards receiving on just three catches, and made two incredible plays back to back, as shown below:
Robinson is showing that he is going to be a problem for defenses all season.
Marqise Lee shows a glimpse of his potential
I wrote on Marqise Lee during minicamp, and noted that if he could remain healthy for a full season, he could be a huge asset for the offense. He showed us some of the potential the team hopes to get out of him this season, making a nice grab over a defender along the sideline, and taking a pass on a short slant for 18 yards. In total he had 49 yards on four receptions.
Running game was effective
It is no secret that the Jaguars’ offensive line has a ton of question marks. With that, it was uncertain how effective the run game could really be this season. It was a great start however, against the Jets. The combination of Chris Ivory and TJ Yeldon was a solid one-two punch, and both had big gains against the Jets defense. The duo combined for 10 carries and 52 yards, and if they and the offensive line can provide a formidable rushing attack, it will provide an important balanced attack along with Bortles and the passing game.
Defense provided pressure regularly
While the numbers weren’t exactly there in terms of sacks, the defense did very well in providing constant pressure. It was evident early that Jags have some guys that can sufficiently get to the quarterback, when on the first Jets series of the game, rookie Yannick Ngakoue killed the drive with a sack, beating Ryan Clady to get to the quarterback.
Kickoff coverage has to get better
The kickoff coverage shown by the Jaguars Thursday night was unacceptable and must improve. Jacksonville gave up 51-yard and 84-yard returns against the Jets. They have to get that squared up before the start of the regular season.