ATLANTA, Ga. – Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton both offer three quick thoughts on the Jaguars' 2017 Preseason Week 4 game against the Atlanta Falcons Thursday
- Preseason Week 4 was big for Brandon Allen, and the game ended with unknowns remaining about the Jaguars' second-year quarterback. He remains intriguing, showing on Thursday much of what coaches like about him: pocket awareness, a live arm and good accuracy on a 43-yard touchdown pass to rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook. But Allen also was intercepted three times in the first half – once on a fade pass to Westbrook, once when he threw the ball late to the sideline and was intercepted by linebacker Jermaine Grace and once when safety Jarrod Neasman intercepted a deflected pass in the end zone. The interceptions weren't all necessarily "on Allen," but turnovers still hurt. The thought here is Allen will be on the roster, but behind starter Blake Bortles and Blake Bortles. That's uncertain. Much about the roster feels uncertain. Stay tuned.
- The search for offensive-line answers continues. The Jaguars started Earl Watford at left guard Thursday with A.J. Cann starting at right guard. Chris Reed, who started at left tackle Thursday, had started the first two preseason games at left guard with Luke Bowanko starting there in the third preseason game. Bowanko on Thursday also worked at right guard; he and Watford got the majority of the reps for the game at their respective guard spots. Watford, who missed the first three preseason games with an injury, has a chance at left guard because no one had seized the spot entering Thursday. It seems likely that Cann will start at right guard Week 1, but him playing Thursday shows the team wants more than it has seen in the preseason. Answers realistically are tough to find in Preseason Week 4 because you're playing against mostly reserves. The guess here is Omameh starts at left guard and Cann starts at right guard Week 1, and don't count out Watford on the left side.
- So, what's next? With 34 players out for the Jaguars, including most front-line players and starters, Thursday as expected mostly was about the bottom of the roster. So, what happens next is the Jaguars deciding who makes the team. Healthy players not playing Thursday likely will make the roster, so it appears running back Corey Grant and wide receiver Keelan Cole – as expected – will be on the team. It also appears players such as defensive tackles Sheldon Day, Michael Bennett and Stefan Charles could be weekend decisions. The Jaguars must cut to 53 players by Saturday, but considering the frequency with which team made roster moves throughout training camp – and considering depth concerns at positions such as offensive line, defensive tackle and cornerback – look for the team to be active signing released players from other rosters. The weekend could be busy.
- Dede Westbrook put on a show tonight and nearly every time he stepped on the field this preseason. Doug Marrone extolled the virtues of 5'6" Shane Wynn throughout training camp and undrafted rookie free agent Keelan Cole sat the final exhibition game. I don't see where Blake Bortles fits into the Jaguars offensive equation.
- I hope two of the five guards tonight did enough to claim a starting job against Houston. That's what we're left with after a pre-season in which no one seemed to want either guard job bad enough to lay claim to it with their performance. It's too much to hope someone shows up during cuts...so I have to hope someone did when they watch the tape.
- I believe the Jaguars have more talent on their roster than they have since 2007. But I can't say for sure because it never really materialized during August. I'm tempering my expectations until we see the offense run the ball consistently and until the defense stops the run regularly. They should be able to do it but as the preseason comes to a close we just don't know. However, we will find out a lot about this team when they line up against the defending AFC South champion Texans on September 10th.