ATLANTA – Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton both offer three quick thoughts on the Jaguars' 17-15 loss to the Atlanta Falcons in 2016 Preseason Week 4 Thursday
- Myles Jack is going to be good – and soon. Jack, the Jaguars' rookie second-round selection, worked at weakside linebacker Thursday – and was pretty much the only front-line Jaguars player in the game. The idea was to get him reps at weak side after he played mostly middle through most of training camp, a plan designed to help Jack learn the entire defense as quickly as possible. Jack made three tackles on the first three plays of the game Thursday, showing the pursuit and speed that caused many to believe he would be a Top 5 selection before long-term concerns over a knee issue hurt his draft stock. Jack appears far too talented to keep off the field long, and a role on the weak side of the defense appears to be a real possibility. This one will get interesting.
- Much of the pregame focus among Jaguars observers focused on Jack, but perhaps as important was the Jaguars debut of Sheldon Day. A defensive tackle and a fourth-round selection from Notre Dame, Day impressed in the offseason and early in training camp before missing a little more than three weeks in August with a back injury. The early belief had been Day could make an immediate contribution at three-technique defensive tackle – and his performance Thursday seemed to confirm that. He has NFL-level athleticism and hands with the ability to get penetration on the interior. The Jaguars believe they're deep on the interior of the defensive front. If Day is healthy, they may be right.
- With few front-line players playing Thursday, we'll close with a thought on the preseason as a whole. Aa storyline to watch as the regular-season begins will be the lingering effects – if any – of Sunday's preseason victory over Cincinnati. The easy answer is it shouldn't have any effects. It was, after all, a preseason game; win or lose, those should be forgotten quickly. But the Jaguars' performance early in the game – particularly along the lines – was concerning. Teams undoubtedly will test those areas until the Jaguars prove they are a strong team up front. The guess here is the lines are closer to what we saw in Preseason Weeks 1 and 2. The Jaguars showed themselves in those weeks a strong team capable of dictating in-game situations. Whatever happened in Preseason Week 3, that must be this team's identity.
Images from the Jaguars fourth preseason game against the Falcons.
- Myles Jack should start against the Packers on Opening Day. His instincts are top-notch, he sees what's coming and makes the play – and on the occasion where he is wrong, his speed gives him the chance to make a play. He made the first four tackles of the game and he made it look easy. He is the every-down linebacker that is rarely seen in today's NFL. He is special and belongs in the lineup … now.
- The 2016 draft class figures to contribute mightily to the defensive effort this fall. Besides Jack, Jalen Ramsey and Yannick Ngakoue look for defensive tackle Sheldon Day to make an impact with his pass rush. He looked both quick and powerful Thursday in his first action this August and should spell Malik Jackson and Sen'Derrick Marks at the three technique.
- If Denard Robinson and Corey Grant are fighting for a single spot among the running backs l would give it to Grant. Besides his role as the Jags' return man on kickoffs he has blinding speed and the advantage of being a running back – a natural, instinctive running back. Robinson doesn't look as comfortable in traffic and doesn't have Grant's burst or explosion.