Here’s what we learned from the Jaguars’ 27-24 victory over the New Orleans Saints at the Mercedes Benz Superdome Friday:
2) Gabbert has improved. Anyone watching camp and the first preseason game knew already. Let the national media types pick apart the rough edges. Look through those rough edges, and it’s just stubbornness to say he hasn’t improved. He is 10-of-14 on third downs in two games, but it’s more than statistics with Gabbert. He passes the eye test.
3) Gabbert will stand tall. Time and again Friday, Gabbert stood in the pocket and threw despite a rush. At times, he threw while getting hit. To say otherwise is to ignore the facts. That alone doesn’t mean he’s Pro Bowl bound, but he took enough criticism for this last season that it’s time to acknowledge the truth.
4) This offense has a chance to be good. That may not be earthshattering stuff in many NFL cities, but the Jaguars ranked 32nd in total offense last year. We were used to seeing a team that had trouble scoring a touchdown in any game. It’s hard to know what the Jaguars’ offense will be this season, but it won’t be that.
5) The running game is ahead of last season. Remember? Early last preseason? A storyline around the Jaguars actually was the trouble the team had running the ball. Go back and look it up. This not a commentary on the absence of
7) Anger will be a factor. Four punts for
10) Mike Mularkey is going to coach aggressively. That’s what going for it on fourth down in the first half was about. That’s what the onside kick at the start of the second half was about. Afterward, Mularkey said there was a simple reason for the onside kick – that the Jaguars wanted the ball. He has spent the offseason setting a tone and letting fans and players know what he’s about. He did it again on Friday night.
12) The arrow is up. Looking back on this what we learned, it’s overwhelmingly positive. And you know what? That’s OK. After two preseason games, we do know that. I have no idea what this team’s record will be, but I do know it’s going to be competitive, and I do know a base is being built for a solid future. That’s something that not a lot of people were saying a month ago.