While most of the Eagles’ focus in the preseason will be on their own execution, that doesn’t mean we can’t take a little peak at the Jaguars and their storylines coming into this game. Prior to each game this season, we’ll scout the opposition by talking with someone who covers the team. This week I spoke with Terry O’Brien, who writes for www.blackandteal.com. Terry gave me the top five areas to watch for the Jaguars. I also did the same for him, which you can view here.
1. The Defensive Ends – Terry pointed out that the Jaguars only had 14 sacks last year, making that an area the team wanted to improve in the offseason. Jacksonville brought in Aaron Kampman, who racked up 40.5 sacks over the last four seasons in Green Bay. Only 3.5 of them came last year though, and Kampman’s sack totals decreased each year in that stretch. The Jags need good production out of the 30-year-old this year. The same goes for third-year veteran Derrick Harvey.
2. Jaguars Run Defense – O’Brien says Jacksonville prides itself on stopping the run. “No one runs up the middle. That is the motto, no one runs up the middle. If your offensive line is blowing holes for running, you will have a good season,” he wrote. Given that the interior of the Eagles line is injury riddled, it will be extremely impressive if the Birds can successfully run the ball up the middle.
3. Left Tackle Eugene Monroe – “He wants to be the top LT in football and God help anyone getting in his way,” said O’Brien. Monroe lost 30 pounds in the offseason and gained strength. The 6’5, 309 pound offensive tackle was the 8th overall pick in the draft last season out of Virginia. Monroe allowed nine sacks last year, but Terry says that by all accounts, Monroe has made significant improvements. It should be fun to watch Monroe take on Trent Cole while the starters are in the game.
4. Defensive Secondary – Terry says it’s considered a major liability of the Jaguars. Jacksonville gave up 236 passing yards per game last year, sixth worst in the league. Their opponents completion percentage was second best in the NFL at 67.6%. Given Andy Reid’s penchant for passing the ball, that doesn’t bode well for Jacksonville in this preseason game or in Week 3.
5. David Garrard – Terry isn’t high on the Jaguars quarterback, “I called him iRobot this week. He will be easy to read if he feels pressure and locks on to receivers.” Given the Eagles depth on the defensive line, you’ve got to think they’ll get some pressure on Garrard. Don’t expect Garrard to face too many tricky blitz schemes though, as the Eagles won’t want to tip their hand in the preseason.
Be sure to check back later this morning for the top five areas to watch on the Eagles side.
Training Camp Coverage
Visit InsideTheIggles.com for training camp coverage, including practice recaps and scouting reports from Lehigh Valley. ITI’s Ryan Messick will be reporting from Lincoln Financial Field tonight for the Eagles first preseason game against the Jaguars. Ryan will be back in camp again when it resumes on Sunday. Twitter feeds will be available during both practices Sunday (8:15 AM and 2:45 PM). Check back often for updates and follow along at www.twitter.com/Ryan_Messick and www.twitter.com/InsideTheIggles.