Jacksonville Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell finds himself in an unusual position: He's not going to be spending as much time watching the waiver wire over the next few days.
The Jaguars have improved their talent level over the past three seasons so much that Caldwell isn't worried about trying to find some upgrades from players who don't make 53-man rosters.
"Usually at this time of the year, we are looking for players from other teams, like these last couple of years," Caldwell said during the television broadcast of the team's 17-15 loss to the Falcons in Atlanta. "This is a situation where we are going to cut some players who are going to go out and play for someone else."
The Jaguars have to trim the roster to 53 players by 4 p.m. ET Saturday, but some cuts could be made on Friday. Some of the toughest cuts will be at receiver, safety and cornerback. There are five receivers -- led by Bryan Walters -- fighting for what is most likely one spot.
With James Sample being placed on the injured reserve list earlier in the week, Jarrod Wilson and Josh Evans were likely fighting for the final spot. Nick Marshall and Josh Johnson also were battling for what is likely the final cornerback spot.
QB depth chart: The Jaguars have improved their talent level significantly enough over the past three seasons that they have the leeway to keep three quarterbacks on the active roster. So while Brandon Allen might not have been playing against the Falcons to supplant Chad Henne as Blake Bortles' backup, it's something that could happen next year. Henne is under contract through 2017 but is scheduled to earn $3 million next season. (He will receive a guaranteed $4.5 million this season.) Allen completed 17-of-26 passes for 164 yards and two touchdowns with an interception. One of his TD passes was a 25-yarder to receiver Shaq Evans on a skinny post in the seam. It was Allen's best throw of the night. "He has been what we expected," Caldwell said. "We had him for the week at the Senior Bowl. He has gotten better every week and every day. We are excited to have him."
Jack makes an impact: It didn't take linebacker Myles Jack long to settle into the weakside linebacker position. The second-round pick made tackles on the Falcons' first three offensive plays. He ran down running back Devonta Freeman on first down and tackled running back Tevin Coleman and receiver Mohamed Sanu on pass plays on second and third downs. Jack finished with five tackles in the first half. He had spent training camp and the first three preseason games at middle linebacker behind Paul Posluszny, before being moved to weakside linebacker for the game against the Falcons. In addition to getting Jack some much-needed reps, it also serves as a message to Telvin Smith that he needs to play well to stay on the field.
No easy decision in the backfield: The Jaguars are likely to keep four running backs, so Denard Robinson, Corey Grant and Joe Banyard are fighting for two spots. Robinson likely has done enough to secure the third spot, but Grant and Banyard didn't make the decision for the final spot any easier. Both played well against the Falcons, with Grant rushing for 62 yards on eight carries and Banyard rushing for 43 yards on 11 carries. Grant was particularly impressive. Though he's known as a speed back (he ran a 4.3 40-yard dash in college), Grant showed a lot of toughness against the Falcons. He ran through tackles and at one point pushed a group of tacklers several yards. Grant also took a big hit on the sideline but popped right back up.
Myers misses: Kicker Jason Myers missed two field goal attempts, but there shouldn't be a lot of outrage or concern. The first attempt was from 57 yards, a distance that no one reasonably would be expected to make. Myers also missed a 49-yard attempt in the fourth quarter. The Jaguars had brought in Sam Ficken to compete with Myers but cut Ficken earlier in the week. Myers actually posted the fifth-highest single-season field goal percentage in Jaguars history in 2015 (86.7 percent on 26-of-30), but he missed a league-high seven PATs. Myers spent the offseason working with kicking coach Michael Husted and using a golf swing analyzer to take a look at his fundamentals.
Costly mistake: Josh Johnson was in a battle with Nick Marshall for one of the final cornerback spots, but Johnson might have doomed himself with a bad turnover late in the first half. Johnson was returning a kickoff when he slipped and fumbled -- untouched. Atlanta recovered the ball at the Jaguars' 9-yard line with five seconds remaining, and Matt Bryant kicked a 27-yard field goal to put the Falcons ahead 17-7. Johnson had previously played pretty well in the preseason and had an interception on a deflected pass earlier against the Falcons, but the turnover inside his own 10 might be a mistake the Jaguars can't overlook. It was terrible ball security. It's one thing to fumble when being hit. It's another to simply slip and lose the ball. Marshall also intercepted a pass against the Falcons, and the Jaguars might view him as having more upside, since he is only entering his second season as a cornerback. Marshall was a quarterback at Auburn.