Falcons @ Jaguars Progress ReportPosted: August 20, 2011
I’ll give Jacksonville credit; I was pleasantly surprised last night at a few different things. Whether it was the pressure applied by Jeremy Mincey or the ever-growing “best hair” competition brewing between Blaine Gabbert and Paul Pozloszny, the Jags overall looked…pretty good. I don’t want to say that I’m quite ready to grade the team, seeing as how we are still only two weeks into the preseason. But we can at least do a progress report:
*Quarterback: Earlier this week, I talked with David Garrard about how talented Blaine Gabbert was and how the one thing he really needs is just time to learn and develop as an NFL quarterback. And I think we saw that last night. All those tangibles are there with Gabbert. Man, does he have an arm on him. I love how his passes are there when his receivers turn around. Even the pass he threw into double coverage was solid. But I think we also saw last night some of those things that will have to come in time. Gabbert seemed at times to scramble too quickly out of the pocket when it looked like the defense was breaking through. But again, that will come in time. What I loved most about Gabbert last night was his passion. Did you see when the camera panned to him in the red zone after an incomplete pass in the 3rd quarter? You could see how desperate this kid is to throw a touchdown pass. And I loved it. I can’t wait to see Gabbert this upcoming year when he’s settled into this offense. As far as Garrard, I thought he was ok. The first interception down field was clearly overthrown but the fumble was on Cecil Shorts. I thought we saw from Garrard against the Falcons what we saw out of him last season. And finally, quick side note: I love having Luke McCown in our corps of quarterbacks. Whether that touchdown was a botched play or a trick play—it was great. I feel just as confident with McCown in as any other guy. And I think that’s reassuring.
*Offensive Line: I felt like this was the area that was still average. There was a sack on Gabbert where Eugene Monroe let his defender through. It looked like Garrard and Gabbert were too often hurried into making throws. I feel like this is still that major area that needs to turn the corner for the Jags to have success this season.
*Wide receivers: Cecil Shorts—not bad! I thought after the fumble, he recovered nicely with those two catches. This is a guy that this team has been big on all through out training camp and Shorts will probably be another rookie that is utilized in the system early on. As far as the other receivers, pretty much on par of what we expected to see. For every nice catch that Mike Thomas has, I feel like there are at times, one that he should have had to go along with it. But Jack Del Rio has said Mike Thomas has had the best start to training camp this year so far when it comes to the receivers. He also added that Thomas has been the most dependable. My prediction is that we will indeed see flashes of brilliance from Thomas. But we’ll also say to ourselves after a few misses, “come on, I could’ve caught that!”
*Tight Ends: Besides a pass or two to Marcedes, did we see much from the tight ends? It seemed to me the game last night was more focused on the run and the wide receivers. I really don’t remember one way or the other any big misses or dynamic plays from the tight ends.
*Defensive Line: I was probably most impressed with the defensive line. Especially Jeremy Mincey. I’m pretty sure Matt Ryan had to throw it away at least three times because of Mincey. I loved the pressure applied and think about it; that was all with out Aaron Kampman! The Jags held the Falcons to only 11 first downs. Not a bad night’s work.
*Linebackers: I thought Kyle Bosworth did a pretty good job filling in for Session. I’ll give Pozluszny credit too—it can’t be easy to have to basically quarterback a defense that you’ve only been with for about two weeks. He had some pretty big hits in the 1st quarter and overall, I liked what I saw from the starting linebacker corp.
*Secondary: Better. Still had some big misses but I think that was when the 2nd and 3rd stringers were in.
*Special Teams: In Scobee we trust. 56 yarder? Awesome. And thank goodness Matt Turk’s punts were better this time. I thought special teams did a nice job securing poor field position for Atlanta several times. I think Deji Karim is great. I think Scotty McGhee is just alright but I did love the effort from him when he ran for about five minutes back and forth from one side of the field to another.
Feel free to share your thoughts below on what you liked or didn’t like between the Jags and Falcons!