After a pretty uneventful third quarter, we at least saw some scoring an equally uneventful fourth. That scoring, however, was a 12-yard TD pass from third-string QB Luke McCown that would prove to be the difference in this one. But, it's the preseason, and obviously what really matters is player performance and not the points.
In a defensively dominated game where the only exciting play was a 76-yard TD connection between Matt Ryan and Harry Douglas, what was surprising was that Mike Smith decided to keep the team's starters in for the entire first half. Rookie Julio Jones posted two catches for 30 yards, but as a whole the first-team offense looked a little sloppy against a pretty average Jaguars defense. The offensive line in particular did not look very strong in pass protection.
On defense, Brent Grimes had a nice pick, Sean Weatherspoon recovered a fumble, and generally everyone made a good play at one point or another. While the Jags were able to somewhat move the ball, they were never able to really string enough first downs together against our classic "bend but don't break" defense.
With Dunta Robinson not playing due to injury, Chris Owens got the nominal start at corner and had himself a nice game in coverage. No big plays given up this time, and he even managed to force a Jags fumble. But even more impressive than Owens was Peria Jerry, who looked really explosive coming off the line of scrimmage. He posted one sack on the night, but should've recorded two had Garrard not managed to roll forward into Kroy Biermann's waiting arms.
As for the backups, for the most part they looked solid if unspectacular. Jacquizz Rodgers showed some nice agility, and Kerry Meier made a really nice catch that was overturned by a Jacksonville challenge. Interesting, however, was the fact that Adam Froman didn't get any playing time this week, even with John Parker Wilson still concussed. Just something to mull over.
While this game wasn't exactly pretty, we still saw some good individual performances from guys like Harry Douglas and Peria Jerry, which is always promising. Expect a more detailed account of tonight's game tomorrow.