Jacksonville Jaguars Starters Backtrack Against Balitmore Ravens
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While the preseason record means nothing, the Jaguars' starting squad doesn't want to hear any excuse for its poor play in last night's 48-17 defeat to the Baltimore Ravens.
From the first drive of the game, Joe Flacco looked like the Peyton Manning that used to drive against the Jaguars defense with little to no resistance.
The pass-rush was extremely weak all night, with the only real impact play coming from Terrence Knighton to hold the Ravens to a field goal in the red zone.
Andre Branch and Jeremy Mincey will need to do a much better job come Week 1 in Minnesota if they want to give their secondary some help.
Aaron Ross, William Middleton and even Rashean Mathis were struggling to keep up with the likes of Anquan Boldin, Torrey Smith, Jacoby Jones and Billy Bajema.
Torrey Smith posted more than 100 receiving yards in the first three quarters of the game, something that should not happen to this secondary this year unless the name is Calvin Johnson.
With Derek Cox and Daryl Smith still out with injuries, it's easy to make some excuses for the defense, but nobody should.
The team, with plenty of starters, let the Ravens dictate the game early and often.
Where do the Jaguars need to most improve for the regular season?
It was great seeing Rashean Mathis back in uniform, and he looked to move and cut pretty good, but is obviously rusty from coming off his ACL injury.
The team lost DE George Selvie to an injury in the third quarter, and thus diminished more depth at defensive end after already losing John Chick for the at least the first six weeks of the regular season as well as having Austen Lane sidelined for the time being.
On offense, the Jaguars were hoping to see a repeat of the first two weeks from QB Blaine Gabbert.
That wasn't exactly the case Thursday night.
Gabbert didn't play horrible, he just did not play good.
He stood in and took shots from the Ravens defenders, but also seemed to zone in on one option without looking at option b or c, forcing throws to mainly Justin Blackmon.
There were far too many failed third-down conversions(1-of-5 with Gabbert, 5-of-13 total in game on third down) and too many bad throws on third down by Gabbert. A couple sailed out of bounds and didn't even give the receiver a chance.
Laurent Robinson did not help, as he dropped two balls and has not played worth the $30 million contract he received earlier this offseason.
On a bright note, both Justin Blackmon and Rashad Jennings played very well.
Blackmon is looking more and more like a true No. 1 receiver, while Jennings is looking more and more like a capable starting RB in the NFL.
Quickly accumulating 72 yards on four catches in the first half, Blackmon is the first receiver that the Jaguars have had since Jimmy Smith who shows that kind of potential.
TE Zach Miller went down with another injury, which begs the question as to whether or not the Jags keep him around.
Miller just cannot seem to stay healthy in the NFL, and unless this one is minor, it may mark the end of his days as a Jaguar.
Both Jalen Parmele and Richard Murphy played well in Keith Toston's absence, with Parmele having two beautiful kickoff returns in the second half.
Center Mike Brewster has done a fine job coming in for veteran Brad Meester and looks to make the final roster come cut time.
The undrafted rookie out of Ohio State came in with extra pressure on himself, as he thought he was going to be drafted in the 2012 NFL draft.
The Jaguars will limit their starters in their final preseason game next Thursday in Jacksonville against Atlanta, where the Jaguars fanbase is looking for some positives after this recent loss.
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