Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Atlanta Falcons: Jaguars Preseason Week 4 Game Preview

Bo MartinContributor IAugust 26, 2014

Jacksonville Jaguars vs. Atlanta Falcons: Jaguars Preseason Week 4 Game Preview

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    It’s the final week of the preseason, and the Jacksonville Jaguars (1-2) are hoping to end it on a positive note.

    After a 13-12 loss to the Detroit Lions last week, the Jaguars will be hoping to see some growth from their second and third teams against the Atlanta Falcons.

    The Falcons offer the Jaguars yet another challenge. They field a dangerous quarterback in Matt Ryan and two explosive receivers in Roddy White and Julio Jones.

    While we can’t be sure how much the starters will play in this final preseason game, the Jaguars should be preparing for the worst. Last week, the Jaguars gave up 368 total yards on offense—a number that they hope to improve upon.

    For the most part, this game is most meaningful for those players on the roster bubble. Players like offensive lineman Mike Brewster and quarterback Stephen Morris are going to get one last opportunity to prove that they can be part of the future in Jacksonville.

Jaguars Preseason Week 2 Recap

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    Despite losing 13-12 against the Lions, the Jaguars put on another inspiring performance that showed encouraging signs to their fanbase.

    Led by a solid outing by Blake Bortles, the Jaguars offense looked strong on the way to 330 total yards. Bortles finished the game 10-of-17 for 158 yards and a touchdown. Wide receiver Allen Hurns was the other standout performer, grabbing seven receptions for 113 yards and a touchdown.

    Unfortunately, it wasn’t all good news on offense. Starting quarterback Chad Henne looked inefficient on offense and often resorted to throwing to his checkdown receiver. For the most part this preseason, Henne has looked apprehensive throwing the ball downfield. Another dull spot in the offense has been rookie receiver Marqise Lee, who has looked timid in traffic and engaging defenders.

    Overall, the defense also had a rough outing. While the defensive line is a major strength for this team, the linebackers and run defense have struggled. The Jaguars missed multiple tackles due to poor angles, bad tackling technique and bad gap discipline against the run. They allowed 178 yards on the ground, including an 86-yard touchdown by Reggie Bush.

News and Notes

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    Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

    Jaguars Cut Roster Down to 75

    According to ESPN’s Michael DiRocco, the Jaguars cut their roster down to 75 players this week. The players cut were defensive tackle David Carter, wide receivers Kenny Shaw, Lamaar Thomas and Ramses Barden, running back Terrance Cobb, guard Antoine Caldwell, cornerbacks Mike Harris and Deion Blue, linebackers Allen Bradford and Josh Hull, fullback Harvey Unga, safety Joe Young, center Patrick Lewis and long snapper Charley Hughlett.

    The most notable of the names above are Harris and Barden. Harris was a veteran defensive back who was moved to make room for some of the younger, more recently acquired talent. Barden was brought in to help with receiver depth, but he’s no longer needed with the emergence of Allen Hurns.

     

    Ace Sanders Returns to Practice

    Ace Sanders returned to practice after a month-long leave from the team for personal reasons. While Sanders remains suspended for the beginning of the season, it’s good to see him back with the team.

    Sanders is a dynamic speedster who is a threat in the return game and as a receiver. Anytime he’s on the field, he’s a threat to score. It’s good to see him getting the help he needs and getting back onto the field.

    It will be exciting to see what happens when he returns for good.

     

    Jaguars Confident with Bortles Sitting

    While Bortles has been impressive in the preseason, it looks like the team will continue with its plan of starting Henne.

    In preseason action, the offense has certainly looked more efficient with Bortles at the helm. Maybe the offensive line's inconsistency is influencing the decision here. No one wants to see Bortles hurt early on, and this development time can only help his young career.

Injury Report

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    Stephen Morton/Associated Press
    PlayerInjuryStatus
    Beadles, ZaneCalf Out
    Doss, TandonAnkleDoubtful
    Marks, Sen'DerrickShoulderOut
    Robinson, AllenHamstringDoubtful
    Scobee, JoshStrained QuadricepsOut

     

    *All injury updates are courtesy of First Coast News, a local news station in Jacksonville, and will be updated closer to the start of the game. Stay tuned!

Players to Watch

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    Stacy Thacker/Associated Press

    Allen Hurns vs. Atlanta Secondary

    Allen Hurns has been a fantastic surprise for the Jaguars. Currently, the undrafted free agent leads the NFL in receiving yards for the preseason with 250 yards.

    Despite drafting Marqise Lee and Allen Robinson, Hurns is forcing the Jaguars to consider starting him. He has been consistent against opponents' first- and second-team defenses, and he seems to be building a strong rapport with both Chad Henne and Blake Bortles.

    It’ll be good to see what he does in his last effort to convince the coaching staff he deserves a role with the starters.

     

    Luke Bowanko at Center

    According to Pro Football Focus (subscription required), Bowanko has played 92 snaps at center and hasn’t allowed a sack, quarterback hurry or quarterback hit.

    The Jaguars are searching for their regular-season starter at center, and Bowanko has a good shot to secure the job with a solid showing against the Falcons.

     

    Dekoda Watson

    Watson recently returned to the team after missing time due to a groin injury. Now that he’s back, the team will be excited to see what kind of playmaker he can become.

    Gus Bradley implemented the “Otto” linebacker into his defensive scheme, a player who plays closer to the line of scrimmage to enhance the pass rush and rush defense, specifically for Watson. Watson is a fast player with strong instincts. It’ll be awesome to see him on the field making plays.

Prediction

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    Rick Osentoski/Associated Press

    This game will feature a lot of the backup players. The Jaguars will certainly feature Blake Bortles, who has been incredibly effective in his snaps. I believe that Bortles will be solid in what should be his last in-game action for a little while.

    Unfortunately, the Jaguars' third-team offense and defense have watched late-game leads slip away from them two weeks in a row. There isn’t a lot of confidence with those units, and that won’t bode well for the Jaguars’ chances to win this game.

    Prediction: Falcons 28, Jaguars 21