O-Zone Late Night: Ravens 29, Jaguars 0

BALTIMORE, Md. – Consider this one a sign of the times.

Consider it a nod to the seriousness with which Head Coach Doug Marrone is taking the Jaguars’ health and readiness during the 2019 preseason, too – because almost all Jaguars front-line players were held out of Thursday’s preseason opener against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Field.

That’s why I would caution against reading too much – or much of anything – into the one-sided nature of the Ravens’ victory Thursday. I simply don’t know how much there is to evaluate when no Jaguars core players and five projected starters were playing.

That undoubtedly wasn’t fun for fans watching the game and wanting their first look at players such as new quarterback Nick Foles, but preseason football isn’t about fun. It’s about getting players prepared for the season while staying as healthy as possible.

That’s about all the introduction necessary to this O-Zone Late Night. There undoubtedly are a few questions.

Let’s get to it …

Gary from St. Augustine, FL

What was the point of that? Seriously?

This is a legitimate question regarding Thursday’s preseason opener because no Jaguars starters outside strongside linebacker Leon Jacobs, guard A.J. Cann, tight ends James O’Shaughnessy and Geoff Swaim and right tackle Cedric Ogbuehi played. That undoubtedly made the already somewhat difficult task of watching an NFL preseason game even harder Thursday. This is the continuation of an ongoing trend around the NFL. About 15 years ago, teams stopped playing starters in the final preseason game. In the last few years, teams increasingly have held starters and front-line players out of Preseason Week 1. It’s understandable why coaches do this. The risk of losing valuable players in preseason is so great that teams are starting to prefer the controlled environment of a controlled practice to the higher-contact environment of live preseason action. It makes things far less entertaining for fans, but I can’t see the trend reversing.

Hulk from Las Vegas

Preseason or not, the depth looks like crap. Season outlook is grim.

I’ll take premature conclusions for 400, Alex.

Kyle from NYC

Cut Tanner Lee now. Worst garbage I’ve ever seen.

It wasn’t pretty.

Jim from Jagosnville

Duval Till We Die?! At this rate I'm not gonna live thru preseason... and it's only halftime! Let's Go Jaguars!!!

This was not the much-ballyhooed, oft-anticipated, always-entertaining First Email of the Game, but it sort of summed up a lot of emails Thursday. Preseason games usually aren’t fun. This one was particularly tough to watch.

Shaun from Jacksonville

I read all the comments about the lack of arm strength for Minshew but he looked awful. I do not know what the front office saw in him. He cannot make the NFL throws.

Take a breath. I’ve been as concerned about rookie quarterback Gardner Minshew’s arm strength as anyone, but he was playing against starters with backups. It was his first NFL game. No, he didn’t look great, but all is not lost in one half playing in the NFL.

Nelson from Jacksonville

Hmmmmm … No. 90 not showing much but No. 41 looks like he is going to be special.

Maybe. Defensive tackle Taven Bryan (No. 90) got movement on a couple of back-to-back plays in the second quarter, though you’re right that he didn’t make any head-turning plays. And yes, rookie edge defender Josh Allen (No. 41) looks like he’s going to be special. Get used to that. It’s real.

Mark from Orange Park, FL

End this madness. Reduce the preseason to two games already. Enough is enough.

It feels like that’s where we’re headed. I still believe four preseason games are necessary for adequate preparation time for the front-line offense and defense – AND for proper evaluation of the entire roster. I imagine the solution will be to use the two preseason games mostly for preparation time for the front-line units with more scheduled joint practices – and more live hitting among the reserves in those sessions. But the more teams hold starters out of two more preseason games, the more convincing the argument for two preseason games rather than four becomes.

Brian from Round Rock, TX

I don't buy in to the hype of preseason football. No questions are answered in a preseason game. Heck, even early season games don't give a true picture anymore. We won't know what this team is until at least midseason. I say look at the rookies and young talent and see if there is talent and potential. Ignore whatever happens with the starters. Agree?

The preseason indeed is a time … wait? Who are you hanging around who’s hyping preseason football? You don’t need friends like that. No one does. Flee, Brian. Flee!!

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