<
>

Jaguars' first-team offense continues to pass eye test in preseason loss

The numbers don't completely illustrate the effectiveness of the Jacksonville Jaguars' first-team offense through the first two weeks of the preseason.

Though the unit managed just three field goals on three possessions and quarterback Blake Bortles missed a potential touchdown pass, the offense has passed the eye test. Greg Olson's system seems to be a much better fit for Bortles, and the run game has looked more than functional -- which is something it really hasn't been the past several seasons.

Here are some thoughts on the Jaguars' 22-12 loss Saturday night to the New York Giants:

QB depth chart: Bortles had a solid night, completing 8 of 16 passes for 98 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions, but he wasn't as accurate as he was in the preseason opener. He threw several passes behind receivers and also underthrew Denard Robinson on a wheel route in the end zone. Bortles also was victimized by three drops for the second week in a row. Chad Henne went 7-for-12 for 31 yards while Jeff Tuel got his first action of the preseason and completed 6 of 11 passes for 63 yards.

Maybe that dude could start: Stefen Wisniewski is battling Luke Bowanko to be the starting center, and he got the start against the Giants. He did a solid job, helping open holes for a running game that gained 39 yards on 10 carries through the first three drives. He also kept Bortles pretty clean, too. The first-team offensive line gave up only one sack and Bortles had plenty of time to make throws. Bowanko got the start against the Pittsburgh Steelers last week, and the two have been alternating days with the first team. Coach Gus Bradley will have to make a decision soon.

Who got hurt? Two key players went down in the first half with knee injuries. Cornerback Demetrius McCray, a starter, and linebacker LaRoy Reynolds, the Jaguars' special teams leader, were able to walk off under their own power. Wide receiver Arrelious Benn (fractured clavicle), offensive tackle Josh Wells (hand) and linebacker Khairi Fortt (knee) also left and did not return.

Surprise Player who looks amazing: Corey Grant had a nice night returning kicks, averaging 38.5 yards on two kickoff returns. If he's going to make the team, it will be at that spot; he is averaging 29.8 yards per return on four returns through the first two preseason games. He also recovered a snap that went over Tuel's head.

Rookie watch: Fifth-round pick Rashad Greene was targeted four times early and caught two passes for 14 yards. He also returned two punts for six yards but fumbled one. Cornerback Nick Marshall was in coverage on Dwayne Harris on Harris' 8-yard touchdown catch, but it was a perfect throw from Ryan Nassib. Marshall also returned two kickoffs for 41 yards. Thurston Armbrister played more outside than inside linebacker against the Giants and had three tackles. He's fighting for one of the two spots behind the three starters. Jason Myers kicked three field goals, including a 55-yarder. He also made kicks of 38 and 49 yards.

When it was starters v. starters, the Jaguars looked ...: Solid on offense, especially along the line. The offense should have scored one touchdown but Bortles underthrew Denard Robinson in the end zone, and a questionable holding call on Luke Joeckel led to a Jason Myers field goal. The defense didn't get much pressure on Eli Manning, though Jared Odrick and Ryan Davis did knock down passes at the line of scrimmage. The unit was missing three starters (DE Chris Clemons, DT Sen'Derrick Marks and SS Johnathan Cyprien).

One reason to freak out: Bortles has been victimized by a lot of drops through the first two weeks of the preseason. There were three against the Steelers and three more against the Giants, including on back-to-back throws to Allen Robinson. The second was a pass that was slightly behind him, but Robinson needs to make that catch. Allen Hurns also dropped a beautifully thrown deep ball. There's probably going to be extra work put on the Jugs machine after practices in the next week.

Joeckel watch: There isn't a more maligned Jaguars player than left tackle Luke Joeckel, and his critics got additional ammunition on Saturday night. Joeckel was flagged for holding and the 10-yard loss pushed the Jaguars out of the red zone. However, it seemed to be a questionable call and Joeckel played pretty well. When it comes to Joeckel, it's almost like he's treated the same way officials are treated: Nobody notices them until they blow a call.

Yeldon's debut on hold: Rookie RB T.J. Yeldon was a game-time decision because of a strained finger on his left hand, and the Jaguars opted to hold the second-round pick out for the second week in a row. General manager David Caldwell told the Florida Times-Union at halftime that he expects Yeldon to play Friday against the Detroit Lions.