Jaguars vs. Bucs, 10 Observations: The QB situation isn't ideal, Westbrook has great 4th quarter

The Jaguars' starting group offered an abysmal effort Thursday in a 12-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

The offense couldn't move the ball and the defense couldn't shut down quarterback Jameis Winston. 

It was an awful way to reintroduce the Jaguars to the fans at EverBank Field. Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone didn't mince words following the ugly contest and it was hard to blame him for his frustration.

Below are 10 immediate observations following the loss to the Buccaneers:

1. The Jaguars quarterback situation is not ideal.

Jaguars presumed starting quarterback Blake Bortles has been unable to shake his struggles, despite offering some shining moments in practice. Bortles couldn't accomplish anything against a Buccaneers defense that he had played against during two joint practices earlier in the week.

Bortles had some really poor throws. He underthrew wide receiver Allen Robinson twice and was nearly picked off on a completion to him. Bortles has never been a consistent quarterback, relying more on brief streaks of brilliance when readily available. Those opportunities didn't come on Thursday.

Backup quarterback Chad Henne was better in relief, but wasn't anything special. He completed 6-of-10 passes for 44 yards, which didn't dwarf Bortles' effort. He had two touchdown receptions dropped by Robinson and Keelan Cole on his first drive with the first team.

Even with those drops in consideration, Henne didn't light the world on fire.

Third-string quarterback Brandon Allen did his best with what he was given in the fourth quarter. He has clearly made a connection with rookie wide receiver Dede Westbrook. Allen completed 10-of-15 passes for 144 passing yards. 

Marrone is focused on Henne and Bortles, but he wouldn't rule out Allen when it comes to the impromptu starting quarterback competition.

With just two weeks left in the preseason, Marrone has a very hard decision to make. He needs to make it very soon.

2. The running game without Leonard Fournette is not improved.

Chris Ivory and T.J. Yeldon struggled to run the football last season. They continued those woes against the Buccaneers. 

Yeldon left the game after the first series with a hamstring strain after producing two yards on two carries. Yeldon has struggled to stay healthy throughout his brief career. 

Ivory then gained four yards on seven carries. That's less one-yard per carry (read: awful). He also put up little effort on a blitz pickup that saw Adarius Glanton record a sack on Henne.

For two guys who are supposed to be considered "starter level," it was not a strong showing.

Fournette is dealing with a foot injury and he can't recover soon enough. 

3. Westbrook has serious potential as a deep threat.

For all the negative that came out of the game, the fourth-round pick shined. It may have been against several players who will be working in Canada in a few weeks, but he absolutely flashed. 

Westbrook couldn't control who he played against. All he could do is put up an impressive 131 receiving yards on six catches.

All five of Westbrook's catches in the fourth quarter went for 20 or more yards. 

4. Marquez Williams catch for a touchdown catch was impressive.

The rookie fullback showed excellent hands as he snatched a pass from Allen and was able to get past the pylon while closely defended. 

Williams' competition, Tommy Bohanon, has done little in practice and the preseason to fend off the rookie.

5. It's time to bring in competition for kicker Jason Myers.

The third-year kicker missed his only two attempts against the Buccaneers. He missed a 40-yard field goal attempt wide left and then completely shanked an extra point attempt later on.

He also missed two field goal attempts of 50 or more yards against the New England Patriots last week.

It's time for the Jaguars to make some calls and Marrone's former kicker with the Buffalo Bills, Dan Carpenter, is available.

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6. This Jaguars staff is all about accountability.

Marrone's press conference offered up honesty. The Jaguars head coach isn't going to settle at quarterback or anywhere else. It's a change of pace from the previous few years.

7. Keelan Cole emerges as a potential punt returner.

With former draft pick Rashad Greene falling behind in the hunt for a depth spot, Cole stepped up in another area. Greene was considered the favorite to be the starting punt returner heading into camp, but Cole's emergence as a receiver may have the Jaguars thinking differently.

Cole returned a punt for 31 yards on Thursday. That big gain will open some eyes on special teams, an area where Cole has already shown upside. 

With Cole standing out on offense and special teams, he has become nearly impossible to let go at this point. There are still two weeks left, but Cole has seemingly earned his spot on the roster so far.

8. The Jaguars really need to get their starting cornerbacks healthy.

The Jaguars' secondary allowed Winston to carve them up in the first half. Winston completed 21-of-29 passes for 196 passing yards. He led three scoring drives in five series.

Cornerbacks Brian Dixon and Tyler Patmon should be solid in depth roles, but going up against the likes of DeSean Jackson and Mike Evans seems less than ideal. 

Starting cornerbacks A.J. Bouye (undisclosed), Jalen Ramsey (core) and Aaron Colvin (ankle) are all out with injuries. It remains to be seen when they will return.

9. Sheldon Day continues to produce in the preseason.

Last year's fourth-round pick is having a terrific preseason. Following a strong showing against the Patriots in Week 1, Day was the lone standout on defense in the first half. 

Day produced five tackles, two pressures and a sack on the night. He is in the running to be the first three-technique off the bench.

10. There are still two more preseason games.

Buckle up, folks, it may be a bumpy ride. The Jaguars host the Carolina Panthers next Thursday. 

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

© 2017 WTLV-TV


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