Fans will get an early look at how much -- or if -- the Jacksonville Jaguars' secondary has improved before the 2014 regular season even begins.
For a few drives, anyway.
The NFL released the preseason schedule Wednesday afternoon, and the Jaguars will face three of the league's top quarterbacks in games 2-4. The Jaguars begin the preseason by playing host to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, but follow that with games at Chicago and Detroit before finishing the preseason at home against Atlanta.
That means the Jaguars will face Jay Cutler and Alshon Jeffery, Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson, and Matt Ryan and Julio Jones in successive weeks. That'll be a good early test for second-year cornerback Dwayne Gratz and second-year safety Johnathan Cyprien, at least until they go to the bench early in the first halves of those games.
Starters usually play into the third quarter in the third preseason game and that means a longer day against Stafford and Johnson. Stafford threw for 4,650 yards and 29 touchdowns in 2013. Johnson caught 84 passes for 1,492 yards and 12 touchdowns.
The Jaguars are a combined 13-7 in the preseason against the Bucs (6-3), Bears (1-0), Lions (0-1) and Falcons (6-3).