JACKSONVILLE – What We Learned from the Jaguars’ 2014 preseason game against Chicago Thursday and the third and final week of 2014 training camp
2. Blake Bortles … wow! OK, the exclamation point is a bit much … and maybe the wow is, too. But the national media got a glimpse of Bortles on national television Thursday – and the national media took notice. Bortles is showing a lot of people he has a chance to be very good, and the chatter and buzz around this story isn’t going to get quieter.
3. Bortles is really good on the run. He has shown skill in a lot of areas, but after two preseason games it’s obvious Bortles is very good throwing on the run. Jaguars offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch has created situations to allow him to get outside the pocket, and Bortles has shown big-time accuracy outside the pocket.
4. Bortles still hasn’t faced a lot of blitzes or complex coverages. As was the case in the preseason opener against Tampa Bay, Bortles on Thursday against Chicago didn’t see a lot of five- or six-man rushes. He didn’t see a whole lot of complex coverage from the secondary, either. This may not happen during the preseason, and it’s one reason the Jaguars’ decision-makers aren’t in a mad rush to start the rookie No. 3 overall selection in the 2014 NFL Draft immediately. The other reason, of course, is …
6. Bortles will get work with the ones. This was Friday’s major news. The Jaguars’ approach under Bradley is to work rookies with the first team at various times for evaluation and so the rookies will be prepared to play if necessary. Bradley said the team will follow the same protocol with quarterbacks, and that by doing so, Bortles will work with the starters for about a quarter on Friday against Detroit. Look for Henne to start and play much of the first half with Bortles perhaps playing the entire third quarter. …
7. The plan is working. The Jaguars wanted to create an environment in which Bortles could develop without the pressure of expectations. They like how he is developing and believe the environment of Bortles working with the backups and Henne the established starter is working.
9. Linder’s spot will have a domino effect. If Linder starts at center, Bradley said it’s likely that veteran
10. There will be some early juggling on the offensive line. Starting right tackle
11. The run defense looks solid. This area was dominant against Tampa Bay in the preseason opener, and while it wasn’t quite as dominant Friday, it was still strong. The front seven won’t hold every opponent under 40 yards rushing this season. This group won’t be dominant on that level, but it continues to look like it will be stout against the run. If so, it’s automatically a better unit than last season.
14. … and so is
15. The Jaguars are better. Through two preseason games, there’s little question about that. There are issues to resolve and holes to fill, and the best may still be a few years away. But for the present, it appears the Jaguars have a chance to take a significant step forward.