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Sexton-Oehser quick thoughts: Jaguars 13, Jets 17

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JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser and senior correspondent Brian Sexton both offer three quick thoughts on the Jaguars' 17-13 loss to the New York Jets in the 2016 preseason opener Thursday ...

Oehser ...

1.The Jaguars' offense couldn't have been more impressive early. Quarterback Blake Bortles looked far more efficient in two series than he had thus far in practice, and wide receiver Blake Bortles looked very much like a player ready to build on last season's breakout season. The Jaguars spent training camp talking about starting fast. A 10-lead after a quarter? Eight first downs on the first two series? The only incompletion a dropped would-be touchdown? They hardly could have started faster.

  1. The best news for the Jaguars early Thursday? While there were many possible answers to that question, the choice here goes to the running offense. This was an area of major concern after last season, and it was difficult to gauge progress after a week and a half of training camp practice. Unrestricted free agent Chris Ivory rushed for 26 yards and a touchdown on six carries. Second-year veteran T.J. Yeldon rushed for 24 yards on four carries. A preseason game isn't the end-all measure for a running offense, but at first glance it appeared improved. A lot.
  1. Myles Jack is going to be hard to keep off the field. Jack has worked at middle linebacker with the second-team defense throughout training camp – with the exception of a couple of days when starter Paul Poslusnzy had planned days off. He has looked progressively better as he has learned the defense and he looked fast during extensive second-quarter playing time Thursday. He played into the third quarter Thursday, and his athleticism and closing speed stood out. Jack's season-opening role has yet to be determined, but he'll almost certainly have one – and he'll almost certainly make the Jaguars better immediately on third down.

Sexton ...

  1. The Jaguars offense looks good, very good and what's more…they know it. It wasn't just the Allen Robinson Show, though that was pretty good, wasn't it? From my vantage point on the sidelines it was interesting to watch the body language of Blake Bortles as he not only identified what the Jets were doing but in how he got his guys in position to take advantage of it. Bortles is better, Robinson looks like an unstoppable force and the tandem of TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory is going to make defenses hang close to the line of scrimmage. All that by the way and Marqise Lee caught 4 passes and the running game looked potent with TJ Yeldon and Chris Ivory in tandem. The offense looked good and has plenty of room to improve.
  1. The defense has a lot of work to do but Todd Wash has that unit on the right road. You had Malik Jackson coaching Dante Fowler and Yannick Ngakoue, Telvin Smith Sr. was the first guy to Myles Jack as he came off the field and though neither played Tashaun Gibson was in Jalen Ramsey's ear all night long. It's clear these guys are working double time to build relationships and develop lines of communication. It's also VERY clear that Todd Wash was born to coach a defense and you could see it in the way he went from group to group then tied it all together with his coaching staff. They're an almost entirely rebuilt unit with a new coordinator so there is still a long way to go but Wash has these guys going.
  1. The first preseason game is almost always a train wreck and the Jags had a few moments where it felt as if they were derailed. Special teams gave up kickoff returns of 51 and 84 yards that led directly to 10 points for New York. Blake Bortles dropped a pass in the end zone he should have caught, they were flagged 12 times for 132 yards and they were 1 of 11 on 3rd down and only 1 of 4 in the red zone. It was the first game but it was sloppy, too sloppy for a team that expects to contend for a playoff spot. This team has had some sloppy practice sessions also so it wasn't a complete surprise that they looked so….sloppy. They break camp on Sunday but maybe Gus should consider revising the calendar to get more time to get his team buttoned up on the little things that make all the difference when the regular season opens on September 11. Just a thought.

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