JACKSONVILLE – Senior writer John Oehser, senior correspondent Brian Sexton and team reporter Kainani Stevens offer quick thoughts on the Jaguars’ 31-18 victory over the Miami Dolphins in a 2023 Preseason Week 3 game at EverBank Stadium Saturday
John Oehser, Jaguars Senior Writer…
1. Really good signs on offense. Forget the score. The most important Jaguars takeaway from Preseason Week 3 is that an offense expected to define this team this season looked every bit as expected in its most extensive work leading to the regular season. The unit played two series, producing 12 first downs and 168 yards, with rookie running back Tank Bigsby’s lost fumble at the Dolphins 2 on the first drive resulting in a touchback and preventing essentially a perfect performance by the first-team offense. Quarterback Trevor Lawrence completed eight of 10 passes for 92 yards, spreading his passes between multiple offensive weapons including wide receivers Zay Jones, Christian Kirk and Calvin Ridley. Ridley caught a 28-yard pass from Lawrence to set up a touchdown to cap the second drive. As importantly, the Jaguars ran effectively with Bigsby rushing six times for 37 yards, and starter Travis Etienne Jr. rushing eight times for 39 yards and a three-yard touchdown. The touchdown ended the night for the starters with 9:15 remaining in the half. Pederson said afterward he planned to play the starters for a half, but the performance was enough that he pulled them after two series. It was the right time for their night to end. They had nothing left to show. They’re ready.
2. Depth, depth, depth. The Jaguars’ first-team offense being impressive was important Saturday, and the performance of the running game could mean a versatility that even the team’s closest observers didn’t quite anticipate. But what shouldn’t be overlooked as the preseason ends is the significant improvement in the Jaguars’ depth – and talent level – over the past two offseasons/seasons. The Jaguars went 3-0 in the 2023 preseason – and while the starters were impressive in essentially five series, the second and third teams also played well in all three games. The Jaguars look deep along the offensive line, and at running back and receiver. They also got impressive performances throughout the preseason from multiple members of the 2023 draft class: Bigsby, pass rusher Yasir Abdullah, tight end Brenton Strange and offensive tackle Anton Harrison. This team is keyed by Lawrence and a potentially elite group of skill players. But it goes deeper than that. That’s a huge change in two years.