JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser examines what we learned from the Jaguars' 17-6 victory over the Atlanta Falcons in a 2018 Preseason Week 3 game at TIAA Bank Field on Saturday
1.The Jaguars are talented – really talented.Work remains. Head Coach Doug Marrone would be – and usually is – the first to tell you that. But if the first three '18 preseason games have shown anything it's that the analysts who said the Jaguars might be one of the NFL's most talented teams may have been right. This team has talent. It's explosive. The potential for a Super Bowl run is there. Now, comes the tough part: fulfilling it.
2.The defense is ready …The Jaguars' first-team defense has allowed four field goals in three preseason games. This unit is expected to be elite this season. It looks the part so far.
3. … and so is Malik Jackson.A sack. A tackle for loss. A hurry. That's reflective of how the Pro Bowl defensive tackle has played pretty much the entire preseason. Don't overlook his importance to this defense as a disruptive interior player.
4.The two-back set is potent.The Jaguars showed a hint of their two-back formation in Week 2 at Minnesota; they showed a bigger hint Saturday against the Falcons. It worked in a big way Saturday, with running backs Leonard Fournette, Corey Grant and T.J. Yeldon combining for nearly 200 yards of offense. All averaged at least 4.6 yards per carry. "We're just trying to get playmakers on the field," Jaguars Head Coach Doug Marrone said. "We're just trying to continue to look at ways that can help us move the football."
5.Grant is a weapon …Grant's speed is a real weapon, and the team apparently plans to use it extensively. His numbers Saturday: five carries for 32 yards, five receptions for 39 yards. He may not get 10 touches a game this season, but he's going to have an increased role.
6. …and so is T.J. Yeldon …Yeldon has drawn praise throughout training camp. In what likely will be the final look for the starters, he turned in another solid performance with five carries for 23 yards and three more receptions for 23 yards Saturday. This has the look of a very balanced backfield.
7. … and so is Leonard Fournette.Fournette is ready for his closeup – and for the regular season. What better way for the go-to back to close out the preseason than with 10 carries for 57 yards and a 21-yard touchdown run that was his most impressive carry of the preseason?
8.Blake Bortles needs to work out his "interception thing."This thing largely went away late last season; the most impressive part of the 2017 postseason run was he didn't throw an interception in any of the three games. Three interceptions in his last two preseason games wasn't how he wanted to enter the '18 regular season.
9.Jalen Ramsey is back …The All-Pro cornerback played for the first time since the preseason opener Saturday after missing Preseason Week 2 while serving a one-game suspension. He also talked to the media for the first time since a controversial GQ article in which he "discussed" a litany of NFL quarterbacks. "I don't live my life with regrets," he said. "Things happen, and I said what I said."
10. … and so is Dante Fowler Jr.The fourth-year defensive end, like Ramsey, returned from a one-game suspension Saturday. He addressed the well-publicized fight with defensive end Yannick Ngakoue that occurred the afternoon of the suspension – as well as a fight earlier the same day in practice involving tight end James O'Shaughnessy. "Things got a little antsy because that was my second day back out there," Fowler said. "Just trying to set the tone, but I set it a little too much. We have to care for our teammates and look out for them. I love JO (O'Shaughnessy) and he loves me, too. I love Yann (Ngakoue) and (Jackson) and all those boys. You know it's a team. We are brothers with egos. It will make sense, I feel, 10 years from now, but it doesn't make sense now. Those are my brothers and I love them, honestly."
11.Marqise Lee could be out for a while.This is speculation, but the tone after the game about wide receivers Marqise Lee's knee first-quarter injury wasn't good. "It definitely hurts, and not just from a football point of view," Fournette said afterward. "He's your brother, so I told everyone to send a strong prayer tonight because you hate to see one of your fellow teammates and one of your brothers go down."
12.Wide receiver Donte Moncrief has playmaking ability …He had shown flashes early in training camp. But a 37-yard catch-and-run reception on a pass from Bortles – and three receptions for 62 yards for the game – had to give the offense a good feeling in the wake of Lee's injury.
13. and so do a lot of skill players.Thirteen players caught passes for the Jaguars Saturday. More significant, at least 10 of those players figure to be active in the regular season. This team will miss Lee, but the offense should be able to make up for his loss.
14.Andrew Norwell and Jermey Parnell matter.Saturday was the preseason debut for the starting left guard and starting right tackle. The good news for the Jaguars: the line had its best game of the preseason. The better news: they looked good even without center Brandon Linder, who missed the game with a knee injury sustained against Minnesota last week.
15.D.J. Hayden is fitting in at nickel.Hayden, who signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Lions in March, registered a sack and two quarterback hits. That's a good sign for a player who could be asked to blitz in the Jaguars' scheme.
16.The preseason is over – for most starters, anyway.That's what the end of Preseason Week 3 means. Few starters, if any, will play against Tampa Bay in the preseason finale. That's fine. This team is as ready as it's going to be – and it doesn't need any more catastrophic injuries.