Jaguars start off on the right foot, beat Buccaneers at home

Friday night’s 16 – 10 victory over the Buccaneers was exciting and entertaining while also being disappointing at times for Gus Bradley and hisJaguars.

If you watched the first quarter, then you know the mediocre job that Mike Brewster did at center. I think it’s safe to say that rookie center Luke Bowanko has a real shot at taking the starting job in 2014.

For those of you who missed it, Brewster had not one, but TWO snaps that went over quarterback Chad Henne‘s head and about 20 yards back. Henne, of course, couldn’t do much but fall on it to setup a Bryan Anger punt.

Jacques McClendon was the next one to go in after Brewster but wasn’t much help aside from not having a snap go over the quarterback’s head. On the flip side, while playing guard, McClendon was just abused by the Buccaneers’ interior defensive line. Should McClendon play center and Brewster guard?

The first touchdown of the game came not from the offense, despite the Jaguars receiving the ball to start the game, but the defense. Safety Winston Guy took an interception 68 yards to the house for a touchdown to give the Jaguars first blood.

Buccaneers quarterback Josh McCown overthrew the ball… right into Guy’s hands. On his way to tight-roping towards the end zone, he got a nice block from rookie linebacker Telvin Smith which gave Guy the opportunity to take it to the house. Lucky for us, the whole thing was filmed from the Jaguars brand-spankin’ new video boards — the largest in the world mind you.

Watching the first-team defense, there is a noticeable difference from last year to this year as evidenced by the three sacks and two forced fumbles created by a much improved four-man pass rush.

“We are really gelling together as a defense and it’s fun to see. We have some new pieces, but we’re all just trying to get better every day and continue to improve. I’m excited to see what can do moving forward.” – DT Sen’Derrick Marks

Free agent acquisition Chris Clemons settled in nicely with a sack during the first quarter, but he wasn’t the only one.Tyson Alualu, who everyone says is having a great camp, not only had a sack, but caused a fumble which was recovered by linebacker Nate Stupar.

Sen’Derrick Marks returned to form and picked up right where he left off last season… he’s looking like the best free agent signing that this team has had since they signed linebacker Paul Posluszny when he was a free agent.

Allen Robinson and Cecil Shorts III were out last night with injuries. Wide receiver Ace Sanders wasn’t there as he hasn’t been with the team throughout training camp and isn’t expected to be. That left Marqise Lee and Mike Brown when talking about guys at the wide receiver position who are pegged as one who will make the final roster.

But what about the other guys? Chad Hall and Ramses Barden have only been with the team for a day… but there’s one guy who stood out, Allen Hurns.

The undrafted rookie out of The University of Miami caught two passes for 43 yards… not bad for only being targeted three times out of the entire game. Hurns may just have secured his spot on the roster.

And then, there was The Bortles Effect.

Play the kid they did.

Rookie quarterback Blake Bortles showed the fans why general manager David Caldwell believed in him from the start. Finishing the night with seven completed passes out of 11 attempts with 117 yards and passer rating of 99.4, Bortles look the part in every way while on the field.

Even on the passes that were dropped, they had zip, they were laser-like, and on target. Those are things that Henne wasn’t able to do last night. There’s no doubt in my mind that Bortles should be the guy come Week 1 of the regular season… and I’m not the only one.

You can check out highlights of Bortles here.

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