JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – One week after sitting 32 players in a shutout loss in the preseason opener, Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone opted to sit 27 players Thursday night, with only five players listed as starters seeing action. The result was not much different.
Here are my four biggest takeaways from Thursday night's game, a 24-10 loss to the Eagles:
1. Offensive line — Watching the first half, when the Jaguars had three offensive starters in the game (tight end James O'Shaughnessy, guard A.J. Cann and tackle Cedric Ogbuehi), the lack of depth on the line is apparent. Leonard Wester struggled at tackle, although Tyler Shatley played fairly well at center and Will Richardson had a few moments as well. But as a unit, the line did not protect quarterback Gardner Minshew well (see No. 3 below). The Jaguars ran one play in Eagles territory in the first half and watching the line, it's clear why Marrone did not want to put Nick Foles in the game for risk of injury.
2. Taven Bryan vs. Datone Jones — These two players are not battling for the same position, but it's a story of two guys trying to make a statement in the preseason, with two very different outcomes. Bryan finally made a tackle on the last play of the first quarter. He was also blown off the ball on the first play of the game, a 16-yard run by the Eagles. Bryan earned praise from Marrone last week, but he hasn't made an impact in the preseason games so far. After an underwhelming rookie season, he needs to show something. Jones, on the other hand, is taking advantage of his opportunities. Like Bryan, Jones was a first-round pick. That was back in 2013 when the Packers selected him 26th overall. He's been in camp with five teams since 2017, partly due to injuries. But here he is in Jacksonville, making impact plays and looking like a guy who could backup Calais Campbell at the big end position. Bryan could take a cue from Jones.
3. Gardner Minshew's second game — Once again, Minshew's protection was spotty, although held onto the ball too long on a couple of occasions. Minshew completed 19 of 29 passes for 202 yards. For the second straight week, he didn't turn the ball over. That's a very good sign for a rookie who figures to be the Jaguars backup. It wasn't a monumental leap forward, but it was an improvement over last week. At least his helmet never came off.
4. Tre McBride shows up — McBride was Minshew's favorite target in the first half, catching four passes including a touchdown that was called back by a penalty. With front-line receivers Chris Conley and Dede Westbrook held out and Marqise Lee still trying to return from last year's ACL surgery, there are opportunities for receivers to shine and McBride did. He finished with four receptions for 47 yards.