The third preseason game is often referred to as the “dress rehearsal” for the regular season. While the Jaguars new look defense has already shown signs of drastic improvement over the first two preseason games, the offense still has yet to knock off the rust from an off season that was lengthened by the lockout.
Here are a couple of things to watch for when the Jaguars play Saturday night in Buffalo.
1. Quarterback Play- Neither David Garrard nor Blaine Gabbert looked very impressive in the Jaguars last preseason game against the Falcons. Garrard will start and likely get a chance to play the entire first half against a Bills defense in the middle of a transition from a 4-3 to a 3-4 defense so it would be a concern if he did not put up some respectable numbers.
While Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said this week that Garrard is the team’s starting quarterback, Gabbert still has two preseason games to try and change his mind. Even if he doesn’t win the starting job, it would be nice to see Gabbert put up a strong performance.
2. Offensive Line- A big part of the Jaguars offensive struggles this preseason has been the lackluster performance by the offensive line. The first-team offensive will again be without starting right tackle Eben Britton on Saturday, but the other four starters on the offensive line will play. Rookie Will Rackley has won the left guard position and his ability to work with left tackle Eugene Monroe will be an important key in the success of the offensive line in 2011.
3. Young Wide Receivers- The Jaguars released Tiquan Underwood on Thursday which is a sign that the Jaguars like some of the young receivers on the roster. There is an incredible amount of buzz around rookie Cecil Shorts who many think can become the best wide receiver on the roster as early as this season. The Jaguars are also going to get a good look at undrafted rookies Armon Binns, Jamar Newsome and Dontrelle Inman who could be fighting for the final receiver spot on the roster.
4. Chris Prosinski- The Jaguars rookie safety is likely to get his first preseason action on Saturday night. Before camp started he was expected to compete with Courtney Greene for the starting safety spot opposite of Dawan Landry before missing the first two preseason games with an injury. Prosinski will likely start the season as the primary backup at the safety position, but I am excited to see how he looks in live game action.