It’s like the forbidden fruit to Jags QB Blake Bortles, look but don’t touch. Anytime a wide receiver is open in the gap between a linebacker and corner back it a dangerous pass for the third year quarterback.
Watching from field level, the Ravens CJ Mosley made a terrific interception tipped to himself for the one handed grab.
Bortles said this week,” I work best on the move, and in play action.” Mosley’s pick came on a play action pass intended for Allen Robinson.
Bortles also has said he needs to have better control in making the right read and not turning the ball over. Mosley’s interception may have been a terrific play, but the ball was under thrown. While Tavon Young’s pick was not the UCF product’s fault per say, as the ball was tipped by Timmy Jernigan at the line.
But the final turnover was clearly a pass that shouldn’t have been thrown. Zachary Orr was one of the six Ravens surrounding Allen Hurns. See it here:
— NFL (@NFL) September 25, 2016
And the fans made sure to let Bortles know about his poor decision making. Boos echoed around EverBank Field, “I don’t really care, there is a lot of things you can say about that,” said Bortles. “If I went in to somebody else’s work and paid to watch them work and they did a bad job, I’d probably boo them too, I don’t know.” (Bortles exited stage left quickly after that comment in his post game press conference)
With all the weapons the Jaguars possess, you have to wonder if Bortles isn’t the problem.
Coming off a franchise record offensive season and in his second year working with Offensive Coordinator Greg Olsen’s system, Bortles should be making better decisions.
Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh told me at halftime the reason they weren’t getting pressure on Bortles was due to the Jaguars play action. That changed in fourth quarter crunch time, when the Jaguars seemed to get away from play action, and the Ravens were able to get in to the backfield.
But back to Bortles, watch the tape from over the past two weeks and he’s been unable to feather a pass in the gap. He has a propensity to try and force throws in to double coverage.
He has playmakers in Robinson and Hurns, but the ball has to be with in reach for them to make the play, not behind them.
You can try and blame the offensive line injuries, but ultimately it comes down to Bortles lack of touch, that’s been the signature thumb print on this season so far.
Jaguars searching for RB depth after second preseason game
With preseason game number two in the books, it’s apparent the Jaguars have real issues with running back depth due to injury. This after veteran Alfred Blue left the first half of the 24 – 10 Thursday night loss to the Eagles with an ankle injury and did not return.
Blue carried the ball four times for just five yards has Jacksonville offense once again sputtered behind a makeshift offensive line. Coach Doug Marrone was so concerned about that line situation and their ability to protect/block that starting quarterback Nick Foles and running back Leonard Fournette never saw the field for a single play during Thursday night.
That means that veteran at Thomas Rawls (above Thursday) was called upon to carry the ball a little more, and he did so, seven times for 19 yards including a long run of 11 playing in the first half.
Rawls is a 5th year veteran who had some modest success with the Seahawks, including rushing for 830 yards his rookie year in 2015 with a 5.6 yard per carry average. His numbers tapered off in 2016 – 17 with ankle and foot injuries, as he only played in 21 games in those two years. Rawls was later released and picked up by the Bengals, but injured again last season, and never carried the ball in Cincinnati.
Obviously, the Jaguars are wanting to implement Fournette, as the primary ball carrier, but they will need someone else to spell him on a series or two. Also, Fournette has had durability questions, as he missed parts or all of eight games last year with a hamstring injury.
The Jags were also hoping to bring along Temple rookie running back Ryquell Armstead, but after he carried eight times for 22 yards last week, he suffered a concussion in the preseason opening loss to the Ravens. Armstead hasn’t practiced since, and is still being evaluated with no further update Thursday.
Speaking of updates, we await how serious Blue’s ankle injury is coming off this second preseason game. Meanwhile, the likelihood is that Fournette, backed up by Rawls, will be the two running backs when the Jaguars play at the Dolphins next Thursday night.
Jaguars dilemma with injuries vs preseason playing time
The Jacksonville Jaguars will play their second preseason game tonight against the Philadelphia Eagles at TIAA Bank Field. At least, some of them will play against the Eagles.
And therein lies “The Dilemma” facing coach Doug Marrone, his staff and a team trying to shake off an awful 2018 season.
How much are his guys going to play, if at all, in this second exhibition contest? This is a week after 20 of his 22 starters did not play a down in the preseason opening loss in Baltimore.
And while everybody has been looking at the possibility of former Eagles Super Bowl MVP, and now Jaguars free agent star QB, Nick Foles going against his old team, it quite possibly won’t materialize.
As Mike Dirocco, ESPN beat writer for the Jaguars, wrote about earlier this week, Foles all the conceded he may not be out there very much due to injuries on the Jaguars offensive line and concerns over being able to protect him.
However, you cannot replicate the “live fire of a game,” like in the preseason, where Foles can work on timing at full speed with his reads and throws to young receivers like D.J. Chark, DeDe Westbrook and Chris Conley.
Further, it’s not as if the Jags have a season, much less several seasons, of experience with Foles with his personnel to lean on. No, he’s trying to get used to them, and they’re trying to get used to him.
And, let’s not forget that star running back Leonard Fournette wants to have a bounce-back 2019 and he didn’t play a down last week. Yes, there were injury issues with his hamstring all last year.
So what will Marrone and new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo do with Fournette tonight? This is especially with a banged up O-Line.
And, maybe it will be, a series or maybe, none at all that we see the former LSU number one pick, who wowed everyone in his rookie season of 2017.
It’s fully understood that weeks from now, this Thursday night’s second preseason game isn’t going to matter. But for right now?
The first unit Jaguars need to be able to work together under a game tested circumstance, and it doesn’t look like they’re going to do much of that in North Florida Thursday night.