NFL Nation: 2013 preseason reaction Week 4 jaguars-falcons

Three takeaways: Jaguars-Falcons

August, 30, 2013
8/30/13
7:00
AM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Three things that stood out in the Jacksonville Jaguars20-16 victory over Atlanta on Thursday night:

1. Running back Jordan Todman showed again not only why he deserves to make the team but to probably be No. 2 on the depth chart behind Maurice Jones-Drew. The former UConn standout ran for 60 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, giving him a team-high 223 yards on 29 carries in the preseason.

Todman, who scored on an 18-yard run against the Falcons in the first quarter, is a patient runner who quickly gets north and south when he makes a decision. He has been the offense’s best player throughout the preseason.

The Jaguars signed Justin Forsett to be the top option behind Jones-Drew, but he has yet to play this preseason because of a sprained toe on his right foot. He hasn’t even practiced since he suffered the injury during the first live period of training camp.

Forsett is hoping for a Week 1 return, but even if he does, Todman has been so impressive that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get more work.

2. Cornerback Demetrius McCray had his best game of the preseason: five tackles, two pass breakups and a sack. One of those tackles came with a group of other defenders on a fourth-down stop inside the 5-yard line to preserve the victory.

The Jaguars drafted McCray with their second pick in the seventh round of this year's draft. He’s a bigger corner (6-foot, 185 pounds) and plays the physical style coach Gus Bradley wants out of his corners.

McCray had been having a relatively anonymous preseason (just two tackles), but he solidified his spot on the roster with his performance against the Falcons. He jarred a pass loose from receiver Kevin Cone and then made a leaping deflection of another pass to Cone in the first half. He also made a solid open-field tackle on fullback Jason Snelling on a screen pass.

3. Quarterback Matt Scott did some nice things, but they were wiped out by two terrible plays: a fumble that was returned for a touchdown and an interception on back-to-back series in the second quarter.

Scott’s first turnover came when he failed to secure the ball when he turned on a bootleg and was confronted by defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi, who poked the ball free and returned it for a 9-yard touchdown. It’s not an unusual occurrence for a quarterback to whip around into the bootleg after the fake and see a defender in his face. Sometimes the smartest thing a quarterback can do is realize the play has been blown up and just secure the ball and keep the negative play from becoming even worse.

On the interception, Scott stared down intended receiver Mike Brown, and cornerback Desmond Trufant, the Falcons’ first-round draft pick, stepped in front of the pass. There may have been some miscommunication on the route, but it was an easy interception for Trufant.

Scott was battling Mike Kafka for the No. 3 quarterback spot. Scott completed 6 of 12 passes for 67 yards. Kafka completed 6 of 15 passes for 46 yards, but he did hook up with Jeremy Ebert on a 13-yard touchdown pass that put the Jaguars ahead for good.

Observation deck: Falcons-Jaguars

August, 29, 2013
8/29/13
11:21
PM ET
Thoughts on the Atlanta Falcons' 20-16 loss to Jacksonville on Thursday night:

What it means: The Falcons finished their preseason without a win, but that doesn’t mean much. Coach Mike Smith has a history of playing possum in the preseason and being ready for the regular season.

Strong push: Running back Josh Vaughan made a last-gasp push for a roster spot by rushing for 83 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown, on five carries.

What to do at backup QB: I think the Falcons have a bit of a dilemma at backup quarterback. Dominique Davis again got extensive play and his performance again was mixed. He completed 18 of 32 passes for 175 yards with one interception. I think Davis has tremendous upside. But I think the Falcons, who view themselves as a Super Bowl contender, need to think long and hard about bringing in a veteran backup just in case Matt Ryan goes down for a game or two with an injury.

What’s next: The Falcons open their regular season Sept. 8 against the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

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