The Jacksonville Jaguars won Week 3 preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons that saw a lot of production on offense, a lot of bend-but-don’t-break performances out of the defense, and... well... I’m still not satisfied.
You know why. I know why. Everyone knows why. Two words: Blake Bortles.
Who stood out the most on Saturday evening? Let’s see:
1. Blake Bortles
Okay, you knew it was coming. Let’s talk about it. Blake’s accuracy (73.9 completion percentage) and yards per attempt (8.9) looked great.
His two interceptions... did not.
Another week, another throw where Blake Bortles doesn't see the underneath defender. pic.twitter.com/W7RNAumXfM— Ryan Day (@ryaneatscake) August 25, 2018
Here's the other angle. pic.twitter.com/W1dRGq0ZcN— Ryan Day (@ryaneatscake) August 26, 2018
It’s Week 3 in the preseason. Sure, Blake looked awful last year during the preseason and then turned it up to not-that-bad in the regular season — the coaching staff, front office, and fans were expecting more. Tonight was bad. He had some great throws, but those two interceptions were drive killers.
With the 405 total yards offensive production that the starters put up, the final score should have been something along the lines of 35-6. Instead, if you transpose Blake’s performance over the rest of the game after he was benched, this is likely a game that’s within three points when the final whistle blows.
2. Corey Grant
What a freaking weapon. Somehow, he’s been under utilized this preseason and he still 71 yards on nine touches. He is going to be a very important part of this offense this country and I’m excited about it.
3. Jalen Ramsey
He was only targeted twice (by my count, I could be wrong) and allowed just one catch, although if not for a Calvin Ridley drop he would have had two catches allowed. Ramsey is showing no signs of slowing down, despite missing the beginning of camp.
4. Malik Jackson
From the opening drive sack to the additional three tackles he made in short duty, Jackson will get All-Pro votes this year if he can play in the regular season like he did in the preseason.
Getting some preseason #Sacksonville from @TheMalikJackson #ATLvsJAX pic.twitter.com/p0UR3dBZXN— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) August 25, 2018
5. Taven Bryan
In limited snaps, he showed exactly why he was worth a first round pick. He’s an incredible athlete who bullied the Falcons offensive line. What he needs to work on is his closing and his technique. When he gets that down, he’ll be a monster. Hell, he tipped a pass attempt and he was being double teamed at the time. That penalty at the end of the game? He was blocked into the quarterback.
6. Andrew Norwell
All night, Norwell just wanted to bully people. In his debut, Norwell opened the hole for Leonard Fournette’s 21-yard touchdown and aside from a dreadful play where he allowed a sack on second down, he played really, really well.
7. Leonard Fournette
I have literally never seen this sort of vision and cutback from Fournette before.
Plant that foot and @_fournette is in the endzone!#DUUUVAL #ATLvsJAX pic.twitter.com/9XOAHvOc6A— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) August 25, 2018
8. Jarrod Wilson
I think his performance tonight helps him make the 53-man roster.
He never had a [email protected] with the sack for an 11-yard loss.#ATLvsJAX pic.twitter.com/cnF6OJvKOG— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) August 26, 2018
His pass breakup on a sure touchdown in relief of an injured Tashaun Gipson was outstanding, not to mention a sack in the fourth quarter and three tackles.
9. Cody Kessler
Pure determination from @CodyKessler6 #ATLvsJAX pic.twitter.com/3ikOHdCbwx— #DUUUVAL (@Jaguars) August 26, 2018
ABSOLUTE GRIT TOUCHDOWN.