As most of you already know, the Jaguars square off against the Atlanta Falcons in their second pre-season game tomorrow night at Everbank Field. The Jaguars were trounced by the Patriots in their first pre-season game, but keen observers agree that the Jaguars’ coaches still got a lot of valuable information out of that game.
The Jaguars still have a lot of questions on both sides of the ball, and this game will go a long ways towards determining starters, backups, and which guys won’t make the final roster. As with all pre-season games, there are a lot of story lines heading into the game. You just have to know where to look.
1. Matt Roth
I don’t really expect Roth to play much in this game, but if he does, take notice. It’s beginning to look like he may be one of the Jaguars’ starting DEs this season, but I don’t expect that to mean a whole lot. I expect the Jaguars to switch this position around a lot throughout games. Roth should get a chance to show the team what he brings to the table against a solid Falcons team.
2. The Secondary
To say that the Jaguars got torched after the “ones” were pulled against the Patriots would be an understatement, but any time this unit takes the field, I’ll be leaning forward in my chair. The Jaguars were awful last season in pass coverage, and it’ll be interesting to see how they cover Julio Jones and Roddy White.
3. David Garrard
It looks like he may actually be playing for his job the rest of the pre-season, and he needs to perform in practice and in the games. He’s got a lot of pressure, so; it’ll be fun to see if he rises to the occasion or if he founders under the weight of the situation.
4. Blaine Gabbert
It seemed crazy that a rookie would be able to uproot David Garrard just a month ago, but as we all know, things change very quickly in the NFL. Blaine Gabbert knows that this is his team, but I’m sure he’d like to get the reigns as fast as possible. David Garrard has a lot of pressure, but Gabbert needs to show a lot of improvement from now till the end of the pre-season if he wants a realistic chance of winning the starting job.
5. Wide Receivers
It goes without saying that the Jaguars’ receiving core will be under the microscope throughout the pre-season and regular season. Cecil Shorts III should make his debut with the team, and Jason Hill will have a chance to continue to improve as he moves forward with the team. Nobody is a lock (outside of Mike Thomas perhaps) in this group, and they all have a lot to play for.
6. The Cheerleaders*
You know. Just for good measure.
There’s a lot to look for in this game. Don’t forget to join me for my first in-game blog tomorrow night at 8:00 PM EST.
* Added after it was pointed out by another one of our writers that the title said “6 things.” Apologies to all.