As the New Orleans Saints and Jacksonville Jaguars get ready for prime time week 2 preseason action there’s a lot to be optimistic about on both sides. But as always there’s so much more to learn and configure before the real games kick off in September. With it only being three games going forward, teams have less time than usual when it comes to making final roster decisions.
In other words, Week 2 won’t be your average second preseason game. We’ll see how long starters and key reserves play for both sides but from New Orleans’ perspective this is a very good matchup to test certain positions that remain in question. Their record didn’t show it last season, and maybe you missed certain off-season signings in combination with the draft but, from a talent perspective the Jaguars have some intriguing talented depth. After a Week 1 performance where New Orleans defense looked downright dominant, Jacksonville should pose a better challenge. Quarterback running back, and wide receiver depth, are immediately the areas that jump off the screen when you look at their roster.
As for the other side of the ball, expect the trio of CJ Henderson, Shaquill Griffin, and Sidney Jones to pose some formidable threats towards a Saints wide receiving group with a lot more to prove all while the Taysom Hill Jameis Winston battle progresses
For more on Jacksonville we got ahold of Big Cat Country’s John Shipley, who was kind enough to sit down with us. You can find John on Twitter as we also answered some questions he sent our way with Monday’s game soon approaching.
Here’s the latest installment of Outsider’s Perspective.
The Jacksonville Jaguars come into this season flying under the radar in a lot of ways, which isn’t uncommon for a team selecting number one in the draft.
But I’d argue most teams in the Jaguars situation don’t come into the following training camp with the talent Jacksonville currently possesses. Could Jacksonville surprise folks this year? Even possibly compete for a wildcard spot?
I think the Jaguars could surprise people relative to what the expectations seem to be for the team. Those inside TIAA Bank Field think the Jaguars are primed to compete to win games as soon as this season, though it certainly seems like the national consensus among the league’s fans and analysts is the Jaguars will finish as one of the league’s worst teams. The true answer is likely somewhere in the middle.
The Jaguars are still too young and a bit too far out in terms of talent to compete for a top spot in the AFC South, but they also have more weapons and a better chance of getting consistent quarterback play than teams at the bottom of the league’s hierarchy. I expect the Jaguars to win between six and eight games, which I do think would surprise people.
When it comes to the Saints preseason schedule, this was the game I circled. The Jags just have so many players competing especially on offense that have experience or potential. From my view, the QB, RB, and WR positions have so many intriguing players from a depth perspective.
Are those positions viewed similarly in house/by the fan base?
Certainly. I think Jaguars fans would argue that running back (James Robinson and Travis Etienne) and wide receiver (DJ Chark, Marvin Jones, Laviska Shenault, and Collin Johnson) are two of the Jaguars’ best position groups, while Jaguars fans are already all-in on Trevor Lawrence. The Jaguars don’t have a lot of blue-chip players on the roster or a lot of truly deep positions, but WR and RB are two that Jaguars fans seem to be the most excited about early on.
CJ Henderson’s name was mentioned recently in regards to trade rumors. And for the time being, anytime a talented corner is mentioned, the Saints will probably be rumored to have interest.
Can you explain why the Jags would possibly look to move a player like Henderson?
I don’t think the Jaguars want to trade Henderson. He is one of the most talented defenders on the entire team and his inclusion into the Jaguars’ secondary makes them a significantly better football team. With that said, the name of the game with Henderson is availability. Henderson missed eight games last season with injuries before missing all of the offseason due to recovering from a labrum injury.
He then missed the entire first half of training camp due to being on the Reserve/COVID-19 list, including missing the team’s first official scrimmage. With that said, he has practiced every day in the last week and was one of the Jaguars’ best players in the opening game of the preseason, so it doesn’t appear as of now that he is on the market.
What’s the biggest misconception about the Jacksonville Jaguars going into this season?
That James Robinson won’t still play a giant role. The Jaguars raised eyebrows when they both signed Carlos Hyde in free agency and then drafted Etienne at No. 25 overall in April, and the team’s drafting of the record-setting Clemson rusher suggested to many that the Jaguars and Urban Meyer were planning on a future without Robinson in the backfield.
So far, that has appeared to be far from the case. Robinson has been the team’s starting running back for the entire duration of training camp and got the most action out of the trio of running backs in last week’s preseason game. He is still going to play a massive role this year, contrary to many expectations.
Your Outsider’s Perspective on the Saints?
I think the Saints have a lot to like but also a lot to be wary about. They have potentially the best OL in the entire league and there are pieces throughout the defense that are worth getting excited about. With that said, the WR, CB, and QB rooms all make me a bit hesitant to be all-in on the Saints. I think Sean Payton can make it work with the current pieces, but the roster has some flaws I think won’t always be easy to navigate.
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