Jaguars vs. Panthers: 10 Jacksonville players to watch in the third preseason game

Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone discusses the QB battle

The Jaguars will host the Carolina Panthers Thursday in Jacksonville's second-straight home matchup of the preseason.

Jacksonville is coming off a frustrating 12-8 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Week 2. The loss was so awful that several positions had to be reevaluated over the last week.

The Jaguars have opened up competitions at quarterback and left guard. The team also looked into creating competition for the kicker spot.

Jaguars head coach Doug Marrone said he wants to find players who can really own those roles moving forward.

The Panthers are coming off a loss as well. However, following the 34-27 defeat to the Tennessee Titans, Carolina will see the return of quarterback Cam Newton against the Jaguars.

The large mobile quarterback should offer a significant test for the Jaguars' defense. Jacksonville will have some help though, as cornerback Jalen Ramsey is expected to return to the lineup for the first time in the preseason.

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Below are 10 Jaguars players to watch in the third preseason game against the Panthers:

Blake Bortles

This may be it for Bortles, who has had an uneven training camp and preseason. He has completed 11-of-18 passes for 81 passing yards in two games.

While he is completing more than 60 percent of his passes, he is only producing 4.5 yards per completion. He has struggled to move the offense and score during the preseason. If he can't jumpstart the unit on Thursday, he may be out of a job.

 

Chad Henne

Whether he starts the game or not, all eyes will be on Henne. The Jaguars feel like he had a strong training camp and deserved a shot at the starting job. He has produced up-and-down moments during the preseason but has looked competent throughout.

If Henne can move the ball better than Bortles, he will probably get the job. For Henne, it's simple: find consistency and the end zone.

 

Jalen Ramsey

The top cornerback on the roster returns to the lineup to shake off some rust. Ramsey won't play a lot on Thursday, but when he does, he will be tested by the likes of Devin Funchess, Kelvin Benjamin and Curtis Samuel. Ramsey said he was at 90 percent on Tuesday, which should equal strong play against the Panthers. 

 

Jason Myers

The incumbent starting kicker is also the only player at his position on the roster. Myers is under a microscope heading into the third preseason game. He has missed three field goals and an extra point in two games. If he doesn't bounce back against the Panthers, he could see competition or the waiver wire next week. 

 

Luke Bowanko

The former starting center is the wild card at left guard. He has been used as a depth lineman the past two years but could find a way to sneak back into the starting lineup this week. Bowanko's versatility makes him valuable as a backup, but the Jaguars seriously need to come out strong with the starting lineup.

 

Patrick Omameh

With the left guard job up for grabs, Omameh still feels like the favorite. While he had a rough performance against the Buccaneers, he is still the most experienced of the likely candidates at the position. If he can put in a positive showing against the Panthers, he will probably keep the job.

 

Dawuane Smoot

With Dante Fowler likely to sit out against the Panthers, Smoot should receive additional playing time. He hasn't stood out as a pass rusher during the preseason, so going up against Panthers left tackle Matt Kalil should provide some opportunity. If Smoot wants to be active on Sundays, he will need to stand out over the next two weeks.

 

Lerentee McCray

The former Florida Gators pass rusher is being asked to play multiple roles, including SAM linebacker. He should see time in the pass rushing rotation, but his work off the ball will be the more compelling sample size. McCray is also a special teams standout.

 

Josh McNary

Marrone said he wanted to find a suitable backup for WILL linebacker Telvin Smith on Monday. McNary is currently listed as the No. 2 guy on the depth chart. Those comments may have been a warning shot to McNary, who is known more for his special teams prowess than his defensive skills. McNary should receive some playing time on Thursday and he will need to take advantage of it.

 

Shane Wynn

The 5-foot-6 wide receiver is probably auditioning for 31 other teams at this point. Wynn may be the hardest depth player to cut on the roster from a pure performance standpoint, as he has given the Jaguars little reason to move on. He received some work with the first two units against the Buccaneers and may be able to strut his stuff early on in this game with Marqise Lee sidelined.

Follow Mike Kaye on Twitter at @Mike_E_Kaye.

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