ATLANTA, Ga. – Senior writer John Oehser examines the Jaguars' 13-7 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in 2017 Preseason Week 4 Thursday – with an eye on HC Doug Marrone's thoughts on the night
"TO BE A GOOD FOOTBALL TEAM, YOU CAN'T DO THAT"
Doug Marrone mentioned the quarterback prominently Thursday.
The quarterback was third-team quarterback Brandon Allen, and Marrone – the Jaguars' head coach – said he liked a lot about what he saw from the second-year veteran.
What Marrone didn't like was unsurprising:
Allen's three first-half interceptions.
"We did a good job offensively, everywhere except the red zone," Marrone said after the Jaguars outgained the Falcons 415-261 for the game.
Allen completed 22 of 31 passes for 265 yards and a 43-yard first-quarter touchdown to wide receiver Dede Westbrook. He also threw three interceptions, including two that were intercepted in the end zone.
One of those interceptions came on a tipped pass that safety Jarrod Neasmon intercepted in the end zone. Cornerback Blidi Wreh-Wilson intercepted a fade pass intended for Westbrook in the end zone.
Allen later said he, too, liked the way the offense moved, but said he'll think more about the interceptions.
"They'll haunt me," he said.
Allen said two of the interceptions came on bad decisions – the fade to Westbrook and a pass to the sideline that was intercepted by linebacker Jermaine Grace.
"People can say, 'It's the fourth preseason game,' but we don't want to be a team that makes those types of errors," Marrone said. "To be a good football team, you can't do that. Hopefully we'll learn from that. Brandon I thought did a nice job outside of those plays."
Allen other than the interceptions was impressive, showing good pocket presence and arm strength. He also showed good accuracy and timing, particularly with Westbrook. The rookie wide receiver had his second 100-yard game of the preseason, catching six passes for 115 yards.
Marrone began his press conference by mentioning safety Jarrod Harper, who was carted from the field in the first quarter. He was later diagnosed with a concussion.
Westbrook concluded an impressive preseason as the NFL's leading receiver during the preseason. He caught a pair of 43-yard passes Thursday, again showing the speed and playmaking ability that made him a Heisman Trophy finalist and the Biletnikoff Award winner at Oklahoma last season. While 34 front-line players and starters sat out for the Jaguars Thursday, Westbrook played to get additional reps. He had missed last week's Preseason Week 3 loss to Carolina, then missed practice Monday while in Philadelphia for treatment. "Any time he has been out there, he has made plays," Marrone said. "He showed his speed a little bit tonight."
Thursday marked the first '17 preseason playing time for Jaguars cornerback Aaron Colvin, who spent the first two preseason games on the Physically Unable to Perform list before missing Week 3. Colvin, the Jaguars' nickel corner, played sparingly early Thursday because the Falcons didn't run three-receiver formations early in the game. "He did a good job in practice, and a good job in drills and really looked healthy," Marrone said. "But you still want to get those first couple of plays out there – then we weren't in nickel until close to half. We didn't half a lot of snaps." Marrone took Colvin out early in the second half, but not before Colvin – one of the Jaguars' best blitzers in the back seven – got a chance to blitz. Colvin said it was good to get repetitions before the regular season, but not critical. "I was going to kill it [in the regular season] either way," he said.
Images from the Jaguars fourth preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons.
The Jaguars' left guard position remains a major question area as preseason ends. Earl Watford, a veteran who signed with the Jaguars as an unrestricted free agent in March but who missed the first three preseason games, started there Thursday. This came after Patrick Omameh started the first two preseason games and after Luke Bowanko started at the spot in Preseason Week 3. "Normally, I can watch a game and tell you about a situation," Marrone said. "This one's going to be close. I think it's going to be tough. I think I'd rather pull out my back pocket. I want to be sure on this one." Watford played deep into the game at left guard, and Bowanko played deep into the game at right guard. A.J. Cann started the game at right guard and Omameh started the game at left tackle.