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O-Zone Late Night: Jaguars 17, Falcons 6

JACKSONVILLE – There was some good and some not-as-good Saturday.

The worst for the Jaguars in a 17-6 Preseason Week 3 victory over the Atlanta Falcons without question was the ugly, scary knee injury sustained by wide receiver Marqise Lee early in the first quarter. No word on the seriousness after the game, but it didn’t look good.

There were also two interceptions thrown by quarterback Blake Bortles.

But those two elements shouldn’t define the Jaguars’ Saturday night at TIAA Bank Field. That’s because in a game widely considered the dress rehearsal for the regular season, the Jaguars’ defense looked very strong yet again – and the first-team offense showed a lot to like as the first half continued.

That was particularly true of the Jaguars’ running backs – with the trio of Leonard Fournette, T.J. Yeldon and Corey Grant looking like a three-headed weapon that could be the core of an intriguing offense.

The Jaguars’ first-team offense finished the first half with just 10 points, but it had 236 first-half yards. That’s good stuff – and yeah, combined with yet another stifling performance from a team-defining defense, it was enough to call Preseason Week 3 a good one for the Jaguars.

Let’s get to it …

Bill from Hawthorn Woods, IL

Unfortunately, the debate of how to keep Jaydon Mickens and Rashad Greene Sr. is likely over – and the Jaguars lose their top wide receiver to start the season again. That injury looked bad.

You’re talking about the first-quarter knee injury sustained by Lee. Yes, it looked bad. And yes, it would seem Greene and Mickens now both could make the roster at wide receiver along with Keelan Cole, Donte Moncrief, D.J. Chark Jr. and Dede Westbrook. If Lee indeed is lost for the long-term – and that appears possible – this becomes a younger, less-experienced group. It also loses its best down-field blocker. It’s still one that should have the depth and talent to be successful, but Lee’s injury is concerning. And it’s what you fear in the preseason.

Erik from J-Ville

John, the offense is concerning. I hope No. 11 is OK.

I can only assume this was sent early in the game – like, really early. Yes, Bortles’ second interception was rough, but the offensive line and running game looked strong. That was a good sign.

Mike from Atlanta, GA

This reminds me of when we lost fullback Greg Jones in game three of the preseason against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers years ago. He was a great fullback. It was a big loss. It is impossible to say if you hold out all players until the regular season whether those injured in the preseason would still get injured quickly in the regular season, but you can say that if you hold them out in preseason they wouldn't get injured in preseason.

Yes, but this is a team and regime that believes you get better in the preseason by practicing – and by playing. The risk of injury is real – and I’m one that leans toward playing front-line players as little as possible in the preseason – but the thought among these coaches is the benefit of playing makes it a necessary one.

Marc from Oceanway

Now this is where the new lowering-the-helmet rule has value.

The hit by Falcons safety Damontae Kazee indeed drew a penalty for lowering the helmet to initiate contact. It looked unnecessary at first glance, but it also seemed to illustrate a complaint many have with the rule – that it encourages players to tackle low rather than high. Players generally will tell you they prefer to be hit high because the last thing players want is a devastating knee injury. Take a look at Kazee’s play on Lee to understand this better than my words can describe.

Strnbker from Dothan, AL

Is the Fox network part of the Falcons’ network? If not, their announcers should be on their payroll.

OK.

Clayton from Gambier, OH

You've got to think after Marqise Lee's apparent severe knee injury, a call to Dez Bryant is likely, right?

More possible? I suppose. Likely? No.

Red from Jacksonville

Sorry to break the news to you, John, but Jerell is the awesomest. What you got to say about that?

Yes. Yes. A thousand times yes.

Big on Blake from Philly

When did third and two from your own 30 on the opening drive for your offense become a passing down?

About three decades ago.

Logan from Wichita, KS

Soooo.... that wide receiver problem just got WWWAAAAAYYYYY worse. Really hope Lee gets well soon! But now what???

Now, you play your receivers: Moncrief, Westbrook, Chark and Cole – and potentially Greene. We’ve talked throughout the offseason, training camp and preseason about this group looking deep and talented. Now is the time to show the depth.

Jerell from TIAA Bank Field

Blake stinks in person as well! Waste of a season and roster spot. Teddy B!

This was the much-anticipated, much-ballyhooed, oft-ridiculed First Email of the Game. And it was sent by … Jerell!!!!

Strnbker from Dothan, AL

0-16. That is all.

How was that car ride with Jerell? Who picked out the playlist? Did you split gas? Was Logan in the back seat?

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