JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The NFL stands for Not For Long. The Jacksonville Jaguars must cut their roster from 89 to 53 players by Saturday at 4 p.m. Thursday’s night’s preseason finale against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers was the final opportunity for several players to make their case.
Heading into Thursday it was thought that Jaydon Mickens would have to compete for one of the final spots at wide receiver. About an hour before kickoff Mickens was among the 35 or so Jaguars players who didn’t dress against the Bucs.
Although it’s not set it stone, by not dressing it likely means that Mickens has made the Jaguars roster as their No. 5 receiver/punt returner.
Here’s a look at how some of the other bubble guys performed on Thursday night:
DT Michael Bennett: Standing out on this Jaguars defensive line is hard to do. The D-Line is easily the deepest and most talented position group on the roster. Bennett could add insurance if one of the other defensive tackles goes down. He came up with a huge tackle for loss on the Jaguars first defensive possession.
DE Dawuane Smoot: For the former third round pick getting on the field has been half the battle. Smoot missed the first three preseason games with an ankle injury. Now finally healthy, Smoot feels like he can help this team.
“Just from last year, I played all 13 games and I backed up Calais [Campbell], said Smoot. “I feel like I’ve already put the time in and I feel like I know what to do, so I can definitely help out.”
CB Quenton Meeks: On the Jaguars first defensive possession, Meeks dropped what would’ve been a pick-six interception. That’s the type of play that could’ve solidified his spot on the 53-man roster. Meeks was later called for a pass interference call that led to a Bucs first down. Meeks led the Jaguars with seven total tackles.
CB Trey Herndon: Like Meeks, Herndon is competing for one the final spots at cornerback. He also saw a potential interception go right through his hands.
FS Jarrod Wilson: Quiet night for Wilson, he had one pass defended. He’s competing for the fourth safety spot behind Barry Church, Tashaun Gipson and Ronnie Harrison.
WR Shane Wynn: With Mickens likely making the team it could be hard for Wynn to find a spot on the final 53. He finished with only two catches for 12 yards. Wynn also got a look at punt returner but averaged only 5.7 yards on three returns.
WR Rashad Greene Sr.: Like Wynn it was a quiet night for Greene. He was only targeted one time and ended the game with zero catches. If the Jaguars stay in house and keep six receivers that spot will likely come down to Greene or Wynn.
CB Jalen Myrick: Got beat inside on a slant pattern for a Bucs touchdown during the second quarter. He did bounce back later with a couple of solid tackles and defended one pass.
QB Tanner Lee: The surprise of the night was Lee. After a rough first outing against New Orleans, Lee bounced back against the Bucs. He dropped in a couple of perfect passes to Montay Crockett. Lee finished 11-of-22 for 164 yards. At this point it’s hard to see the Jaguars keeping three quarterbacks but Lee could be a candidate for the practice squad.
*Players not on the bubble but who saw extended playing time against the Bucs
DE Dante Fowler Jr.: Fowler is suspended for Week 1 against the Giants so he got extended playing time on Thursday night. He got off to a rough start with an off-sides penalty, but quickly made up for it with a huge tackle for a loss of five yards.
DE Taven Bryan: Reps. Reps. Reps. Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said he was happy with what he saw out of Bryan, but also mentioned the only way the rookie is going to get better is by playing.