It’s a new year in North Florida. And, that means the slate for the Jaguars will be clean at 0-0 come September. However, there was a positive carryover from 2017 in the first half of the preseason opener on Thursday night: solid quarterback play.
First, starter Blake Bortles, fresh off a good season in a “make or break” year of 2017 looked sharp from the opening ,and as it turns out-only drive, of the night. The Jags went 79 yards in 15 plays with Bortles eventually bootlegging in from five yards out.
— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) August 9, 2018
Even more encouraging, was the play later in the first quarter from backup Cody Kessler.
Kessler, who the Jaguars got in a trade from the Browns to slide into the top reserve role, demonstrated some poise and accuracy, while still going against most of the Saints first team. He led a 12 play 50 yard drive that was capped by a Josh Lambo field goal to make it 10-3 early in the second quarter.
Kessler completed his first five passes on that drive, and would eventually finish the game at 14-17 for 139 yards and a third quarter touchdown.
The former third round pick out of USC has be elated to be out of the yearly disaster that the Browns have been and now, be with a playoff caliber team.
And make no mistake, the coaching of offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett and QB coach Scott Milanovich has obviously helped Kessler get acclimated. And clearly, those guys have improved Bortles confidence and decision making. This is especially, when you consider that 12 months ago in preseason, Bortles had been playing terribly and was benched after the second preseason game with his Jags future clearly in doubt.
Also make no mistake, this was a half of the first preseason game. Nothing more.
Still, you want the play to be sharp, accurate and successful and the Jaguars staff, fans and those who were watching got see some of it Thursday.
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