Saturday, August 24, 2013
What to watch: Jaguars-Eagles
By Paul Kuharsky
Three things I’ll be watching closely tonight in preseason game No. 3 as the Jacksonville Jaguars host the Philadelphia Eagles.
The pace: Last week at the Jets, the Jaguars dictated pace with a no- huddle offense that was quite effective. We’ll see if they do more of that as Chad Henne takes over as the starter with Blaine Gabbert, the regular-season starter, out for the remainder of the preseason with a fractured thumb. It may be the Eagles who do more to dictate pace. Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly is all about his offense running as many plays as possible, and we’ll see how a Jaguars defense lacking much of an identity at this stage can handle that speed.
The return of Cecil Shorts: The dynamic receiver has been out with a calf strain. Before he was sidelined, he’d had a great camp that gave the team plenty of cause to expect he’s going to have a giant year. It’ll be good for the offense to have him back, even as Henne is running the huddle rather than Gabbert. How much will Shorts play and how much can he do operating opposite Justin Blackmon, who had a good showing last week? Right tackle Luke Joeckel has been dealing with a hip flexor and could return as well.
Improvement from Johnathan Cyprien: He got turned around and fell down in coverage on a New York touchdown last week. In his second game, the Jaguars certainly hope to see a bit of progress, with their second-round pick looking a bit more comfortable and playing a bit smarter. He drew two penalty flags against the Jets. I think Cyprien has the potential to be an immediate impact player, but he’ll have to settle down in order to get on track for that.