Jacksonville Looks To Fine Tune Offense in “Dress Rehearsal”: What to Watch
As the Jacksonville Jaguars prepare for the Atlanta Falcons for their preseason week three matchup, offensive efficiency is the primary focus. In seven drives last week vs. Minnesota, the first-team offense only recorded seven points.
Jacksonville quarterback Blake Bortles wasn’t crisp as week one vs. the New Orleans Saints, but he’s in much better shape this time last year.
Jags’ running backs Leonard Fournette and T.J. Yeldon looked in mid-season form vs. the Vikings. Look for both backs to improve Saturday night with a fully healthy offensive line.
Jacksonville is still in search for a true number one receiver as Yeldon – the back up running back – led the team in receptions and receiving yards last week.
The Jaguars’ defense is the strength of the team harassing the Vikings new franchise quarterback, Kirk Cousins. Atlanta presents a new challenge for Jacksonville as they’ll face of the most potent offenses in the NFL. Falcons’ quarterback Matt Ryan will look to unlock the mystery of the Jags stout defense and come out of TIAA Bank Stadium with a win.
Jacksonville’s offense has to be more effective for this team to cash in on its potential. Interceptions will happen, but Bortles can be more careful. However, a culmination of three and outs, missed field goals, and penalties must be corrected going into Saturday’s matchup.
It starts with third down, Bortles doesn’t seem to have a “go to” guy he’s comfortable with. It’s vital that Austin Seferian-Jenkins is on the field for the entirety of the season. Yet to see the chemistry they’ve been working on, the Bortles and ASJ connection will be popular on third down.
Jacksonville Reaching Full Strength
For the first time this in a preseason game, the Jags will be at full strength. A great sign as the third preseason game is when teams get the most out the starters.
Bortles will enjoy extra protection as offensive linemen Andrew Norwell, and Jeremy Parnell make their preseason debuts. Also, Parnell and Norwell will add a boost to Jacksonville’s run game as Fournette will see extended playing time.
First-round pick Taven Bryan will make his preseason debut as well. He’ll get introduced to the NFL vs. a really good Falcons’ offensive line. Bryan adds to an already loaded Jags front providing depth and rotation to keep those studs fresh.
All-Pro cornerback and Jalen Ramsey and defensive end Donte Fowler Jr return from a week-long suspension due on and off the field incidents last week.
Matchups To Watch
CB Jalen Ramsey vs. WR Julio Jones: Two of the premier players at their respective positions; should be very intriguing with Ramsey’s aggressive style and Jones’ athletic ability.
Jags’ D-Line vs. Falcons’ O-line: Last week Jacksonville’s D-line pushed Minnesota’s O-line around. This week presents a different challenge with a better rushing attack and a better quarterback in Ryan.
Falcons’ Secondary vs. Jags’ WRs: The leading receiver for Jacksonville in week one and week two (preseason) were running backs. Which receiver will step up and be “the guy” vs. a pretty good Atlanta secondary?