JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jaguars opened the 2022 preseason with a 27-11 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. A bulk of the Jaguars’ key offensive players did not play, including Trevor Lawrence, James Robinson and Travis Etienne. The game offered some hints of what we might see from the Jaguars this season. Here are my four biggest takeaways from the game.
Travon Walker’s debut
From the first snap of the game, the No. 1 overall pick made his presence known. On the Raiders’ first offensive snap, Walker rushed the quarterback and nearly got there in time for a sack. He was called for a roughing the passer penalty, although it appeared that it was a clean hit. Later in the first quarter, Walker got his first preseason sack as a professional. His power move on the Raiders’ left tackle pushed the pocket and when Jarrett Stidham tried to run, Walker was there to grab him.
Okay, so the Jaguars were without a dozen players who could be starters on offense, including all of the projected starters at the skill positions. That being said, the Jaguars backups played a sloppy first half. It’s not what you want to see, but isn’t a cause of overreaction. The Jaguars didn’t score a touchdown until less than four minutes remained in the fourth quarter and they managed only three first downs in the first quarter and a half.
Struggles against the run
Like the offense, the Jaguars defensive front did not include Malcom Brown or Folo Fatukasi and both inside linebackers Foye Oluokun and Devin Lloyd did not play, either. That being said, the Jaguars will want to be tougher against the run this year. The positive from the first-half defense was the bend-but-don’t break performance. They limited the Raiders to just one touchdown in the first quarter-and-a-half, twice stopping Las Vegas drives and forcing field goals. It needs to be much better, but there is a long way to go until the regular season opener on Sept. 11.
The Jaguars return to the practice field in training camp on Sunday. They host the Cleveland Browns on Friday. Expect to see some of the Jaguars key players get some playing time for the first time this preseason. The Jaguars’ second and third preseason games are at home, including the Aug. 20 game against the Steelers. Those are likely to be the most important preseason games for the starters.