The Jaguars 19-14 loss to Miami was worse than the final score would indicate. Jacksonville trailed 13-0 by halftime, when most of the starters were in the game. The Jaguars starters played so poorly, that may of them asked Jack Del Rio to play in the third quarter, but that wasn’t part of the plan, so the starters didn’t return after halftime. The following were the questions that I had before the game. I’ve included the answers that the game produced.
Q: Will Fred Taylor play? A: Taylor did play, but carried only four times for seven yards. Not exactly what Fred will expect in the regulars season. But truth be told, it was more important for Fred to get tackled than for him to make some big runs. Fred probably got hit fewer times in training camp than any healthy Jaguar. He needed, and maybe still needs, to take some hits to get his body ready to bounce back.
Q: Will Troy Williamson showcase his speed? A: Williamson showed his speed on one play, but David Garrard was hit as he throw and the ball fell well short. Williamson did record a catch in the game. Whether he’ll impact the Jaguars offense remains to be seen.
Q: How will Mike Walker’s hands look? A: Walker was better in the second game than the first, but he missed an opportunity to score a touchdown. Walker appeared to catch the ball, but as he went to the ground the Miami defender got a hand into Walker’s breadbasket and poked the ball out.
Q: Will the Jaguars Pass Rush show up?. A: In a word…no. Quentin Groves got the start but was neutralized by the first overall pick Jake Long. The Jaguars failed to produce any kind of substantial pressure on Chad Pennington or rookie Chad Henne. Even with the lack of pass rush, don’t expect the Jaguars to cave to Derrick Harvey’s contract demands.
Q: What kind of impact will Brian Witherspoon make on special teams? A: For the second straight game, Witherspoon looked like the fastest guy in the building. His longest return, a 40 yard kickoff return, was nearly a coast-to-coast job. He’s special and might just be a game breaker for the Jaguars this year.
Q: How will the Week One Wonders perform? A: The most notable player who flashed on week one was first year defensive end Mkristo Bruce. Against Miami, Bruce didn’t record a sack, but did make a couple of tackles against the run. Not bad, but not a huge follow-up performance. Greg Jones doesn’t have to worry about making the roster, but he didn’t make as big an impact running the ball against Miami–in fact he didn’t get a single carry. Maybe Jack Del Rio has seen enough out of Jones in that role to feel confident this season.