The Battle for a Spot: Thoughts on Jacksonville's First Preseason Game

Tim HigginsCorrespondent IAugust 20, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 18:  Troy Williamson #84 of the Jacksonville Jaguars returns a punt during the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on December 18, 2008 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)

As I turned the television on to watch the Jacksonville Jaguars' first preseason game, I partially expected to see the Jags move the ball and score around 10 points with their first offense. I expected a solid performance from the offensive line, I expected a heavy run team, and I certainly expected plenty of time for quarterback David Garrard to throw. 

But alas, this was not the case. 

The first offense was downright embarrassing, besides a bright spot in Troy Williamson's catch and fumble recovery and Torry Holt's first catch as a Jaguar.

The Jaguars seemed to be passing more then they were running, and although the second offense did play pretty well, they were unable to punch it into the endzone besides a screen pass negated by a holding call. 

The one bright spot, however, came with the Jags' defense. They performed solidly, finishing with two interceptions. They held a playoff Miami offense to three points in the first quarter, and applied some pressure on the Dolphins. If it hadn't been for a questionable pass interference call on Brian Williams, then this would have been two three-and-outs for the Jags' defense. 

Also, two wide receivers, Nate Hughes and the aforementioned Williamson, showed good signs throughout the game. Williamson had 74 yards receiving on four catches, for an average of around 20 per catch. For a Jags team that had very seldom plays downfield, this is a great sign. It's also a great sign for Williamson, who was on the verge of being cut from the team. If he has more preseason games like this, he may find himself starting opposite Torry Holt.  

Nate Hughes also had a solid game, making three nice catches. One was on a slant, in which he dove and made a fantastic catch on the play. He could become the slot wide receiver if Mike Thomas doesn't play well in his return. 

Rashad Jennings had a couple solid hits, as he would pop into defenders, or in John Madden's words, there was a boom and the boom was caused by Jennings, not the defense.  

Vince Manuwai should be starting next week over Uche Nwaneri, who had a poor game last week and will need to step up next week.

Thoughts on Jags-Bucs

1. O-Line: The O-Line has been challenged to improve, and I foresee a better game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers; however, I think that the Jags should go with a line of Eben Britton, Mo Williams, Brad Meester, Vince Manuwai, and Tra Thomas. Tony Pashos had a poor game.

2. More MJD: He needs to get more than one carry on the day. Enough said.

3. Receivers: Can Williamson and Holt repeat? If Thomas or Walker play, how do they compare?

4. How does Derek Cox compare to Brian Williams?

5. Sack? Although the Jags applied pressure, let's see them bring down Byron Leftwich or Luke McCown.