Jacksonville Jaguars Training Camp: Week 4 Stock Report
With three weeks of training camp and a preseason game behind us, we’re starting to get a better of idea of what’s going on with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The team was able to secure a 16-10 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The game was much more than a victory, though: It was the first time we got to see some of the exciting young players the team has acquired.
Some players were brilliant while others floundered. Some proved they’re worthy of their current status on the depth chart while others made an argument for promotion.
Which players are on the rise?
Which players are seeing their stock fall?
Let’s take a look at the latest Jaguars stock report.
Stock Up: Telvin Smith
For being undersized (6’3", 218 pounds), Telvin Smith certainly plays tall on the big stage.
While Smith officially recorded only two tackles in the preseason opener, his impact was much more than that. One of Smith's best attributes is his speed, which was on display as he was consistently around the ball.
The best play of the night for Smith was one that many may not have noticed. Smith was rushing the opposing quarterback, Josh McCown, and was able to get a hit on McCown as he released the ball. Smith's hit forced McCown to overthrow his intended receiver, which allowed safety Winston Guy to make an interception and return it for a touchdown.
Per John Oehser of Jaguars.com, Smith has been working with the first-team defense in nickel packages. After a head-turning start to his career, Smith could be poised for an even bigger role in the base defense.
Stock Down: Mike Brewster
Before the first preseason game, there were a few people who believed that Mike Brewster would be the key to the Jaguars’ offensive line. Now that looks unlikely.
Brewster was responsible for sending two high snaps over quarterback Chad Henne’s head that resulted in big losses. Brewster also struggled as a blocker, grading out at minus-2.0 overall, according to Pro Football Focus (subscription required) and ranking outside of the top 50 centers.
If Brewster is going to earn a starting spot, he’ll need to add some serious strength. In his limited role, he looked like he lacked the technique to anchor against premier opponents. Additionally, he lacked the strength to challenge or even divert incoming defenders.
Brewster could see a decreased role as early as this week.
Stock Up: Brandon Linder
In the preseason game Friday against the Buccaneers, rookie Brandon Linder made a strong argument for a starting spot at right guard.
Linder looked excellent with the second-team offense. He displayed great athleticism and play recognition, and he proved that he's efficient in both pass and run blocking.
Just last week, Linder was battling a foot injury that kept him out of practice. Locked in a tight position battle with veteran Jacques McClendon, it looked like Linder might lose his chance to start.
Fortunately, Linder proved he is an asset for this offensive line and has returned back to getting first team reps, according to Ryan O’Halloran of Jacksonville.com.
Stock Down: Marqise Lee
Marqise Lee garnered a lot of post-draft buzz. But when the lights came on, he disappointed.
There were times when Lee looked uninterested, or at least unsure, about what was going on in the game. Lee’s lackluster performance prompted head coach Gus Bradley to say that the receiver must become “more focused” and must give a better effort, according to NBC Sports' Michael David Smith.
It’s important to remember that Lee is a young receiver who still has a lot to learn. However, Lee will have to work harder against NFL competition, and the preseason is a time to master his craft.
Lee is a big part of the Jaguars’ plans going forward. That being said, he has to put forth a better effort to help this offense get going.
Stock Up: Winston Guy
Winston Guy got his crack at the starting free safety spot Friday night and didn’t disappoint. Guy quickly made his presence known by converting an interception into a touchdown.
Guy looked strong in coverage during his limited playing time. Considering that he has traditionally been seen as a safety that is most effective in run support, it was a pleasant surprise to see him effective in the passing game.
The Jaguars have badly needed an upgrade at the free safety position. With Guy replacing last year’s starter, Josh Evans, it was important that the young safety prove he can be a playmaker. If he can produce a few more performances like this, he could be amongst the league's most improved players in 2014.
Stock Down: Mike Brown
With so many injuries plaguing the Jaguars receivers, Mike Brown was given a great opportunity to prove he belongs.
Unfortunately, that opportunity was squandered.
It was a brutal first half for Brown, who didn’t record a single catch but did manage two drops. It wasn’t until Blake Bortles led a drive downfield to open the second half that Brown was able to secure two receptions for 37 yards.
Overall, Brown looked like he lacked confidence. He had multiple opportunities to make catches but looked timid running routes and attempting to make receptions.
If Brown wants to make this roster, he’s going to have to give a much better effort. Although he cashed in a decent rookie year, I have a hard time believing the team will keep around a player who can’t capitalize when called upon.
Stock Up: Blake Bortles
When the third overall pick in the 2014 NFL draft hit the field Friday, no one knew exactly what to expect. When all was said and done, Blake Bortles flashed in a big way converting seven completions on 11 attempts for 117 yards.
It was a good sign for a Jaguars team that badly needs a franchise signal-caller.
Bortles looked especially strong in regards to his poise in the pocket. There were a few times when Bortles was under pressure and stood up tall and delivered a completion.
It’s already been reported that Bortles has been progressing faster than many expected, per Pro Football Talk's Darin Gantt. If Friday was any indication, Bortles could make a push for the starting spot.
Stock Down: Chad Henne
It can’t be easy for Chad Henne—the constant media storm, those clamoring for Blake Bortles to start—it’s got to be maddening.
Whether it was preseason jitters or the feeling of Blake Bortles’ breath on his neck, Henne looked really rough against the Buccaneers. Despite completing four passes for 30 yards, Henne looked like he was constantly under duress.
For the most part, Henne was off target and looked uncomfortable as pass-rushers charged toward him. Unable to get anything going, the Henne-led offense left the field scoreless and with a lot of surrounding questions.
Now Henne likely isn’t going to lose his starting spot after one preseason game. However, if he continues to perform like this, it could be possible.
All stats courtesy Pro-Football-Reference.com, unless otherwise noted.
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