FOXBORO, Mass. – Preseason Week 1 Ozone Late Night.
Let's get to it …
Mike from Atlanta, GA:
I feel like there will be no surprise cuts this year. I don't know what that says about the state of the roster. I feel like the defense will probably be good; it will depend on the pass rush, but I think the defense will be good. I think the players around Blake Bortles are decent to good. I feel like I haven't seen a season that will be so heavily dependent on one player as this season. If Bortles plays well, the Jaguars will contend for the playoffs. If he does not, then it will likely be a bad season. Thoughts?
John: I think a great majority of NFL teams depend on their quarterbacks. We didn't get a real feel for Bortles Thursday because he played just two series, but we got a feel that this team should have a chance to run effectively; Leonard Fournette looked the part, Chris Ivory looked strong and the offensive line should improve with continuity and time. The defense indeed should be good, and the early play of defensive end Yannick Ngakoue on Thursday was ve-e-e-e-e-e-ry encouraging. But sure: much depends on Bortles. This is the NFL, so it's always about the quarterback. What will that mean? To be determined.
Uhoh from Jacksonville:
Move over, Fournette ... looks like Corey Grant could be the Jaguars' starting running back.
John: This is not a correct statement.
Scott from Daytona Beach, FL:
OK, so cut T.J. Yeldon, make Corey Grant the third-string running back and somehow keep Keelan Cole at wide receiver.
John: Snap preseason judgements almost always lead to incorrect judgements, and one of the trickiest preseason things to gauge are huge plays from reserve wide receivers. But Grant will be very, very tough to release and Cole is going to make the Jaguars think very, very, very hard about where he might fit among the receivers.
Daniel from Since Day One:
Just Run Baby Run!!!!
John: Will do.
Pathetic from Jacksonville:
Annnnnnnnd it's over! All the hype and what do we get? Same old, same old from the starters. I wanted to believe I really – I really did! But I didn't see anything on either side of the ball that suggests any improvement at all! The song remains the same!
John: Did you have this email prewritten?
Brian from New Hampshire:
It's preseason. It means nothing, but it feels good to going toe to toe with the Super Bowl champs.
John: I disagree that this game meant nothing. Now, I would not say by any stretch that the performance means the Jaguars are on a par with New England. That can't remotely be said – and not just because the Patriots were without quarterback Tom Brady. But the Jaguars showed some things throughout Thursday's game that were good. Some good early running. Some good early special teams play. Some good early pass rush from Ngakoue. They showed some good speed. This was especially important after the Jaguars struggled at times in the dual practices early this week. This performance Thursday doesn't mean the Jaguars are remotely ready for the regular season. As Head Coach Doug Marrone said this week, they have a lot of work to do. But there were things in the first half that can give the team confidence, so no … Thursday's game didn't mean nothing. Not even close.
Nathan from St. Augustine, FL:
I know it's just the first preseason game, but Chad Henne looks confident and in control of this offense. That pass to Keelan Cole was perfect. If this continues and Blake Bortles is just average the rest of camp and preseason, do you think Henne has a chance of starting Week 1?
Jerell from Columbia, SC:
Hey, John: We all know and I think most of you media people in Jacksonville know that this team isn't any good. As long as "The Pick Magnet" is the quarterback, this team will stink. It's like Gabbert; the hope will return once Bortles is gone. This year is a wash.
John: Jerell sent this email a bit before kickoff. I read it and relaxed, basked in the warm, comfortable glow of the familiar.
Dave from Glass Half Full:
Zone, sure looks like the glass is half full. I just had to add two cubes of ice and another shot of bourbon. Did I mention the Jags look really fast?
John: Save one for me, but yes – the Jaguars looked fast. And they looked more physical at times, too. All in all, not a bad way to start – no matter what Jerell might have thought.