As promised, Jaguars coach Doug Marrone held out most of his top players from playing in Thursday night’s preseason home opener against Philadelphia.
Twenty-seven players did not play, including 13 starters. In last week’s preseason opener against Baltimore, 31 players were held out, including 20 starters.
Quarterback Nick Foles did not play for the second straight week, along with wide receivers Dede Westbrook, Chris Conley, running back Leonard Fournette, cornerbacks Jalen Ramsey and A.J. Bouye, D.J. Hayden, defensive ends Calais Campbell, Yannick Ngakoue, center Brandon Linder, guard Andrew Norwell, defensive tackles Abry Jones, Marcell Dareus, middle linebacker Myles Jack,wide receiver Marqise Lee, safety Cody Davis, rookie tackle Jawaan Taylor.
Tight end Geoff Swaim played last week but was held out Thursday because of a foot injury. Reserve tight end Charles Jones (foot), tight end Josh Oliver (hamstring), rookie running back Ryquell Armstead (concussion), linebacker Jake Ryan (knee) remains on the physically unable to perform list and linebacker Quincy Williams (knee) remains out with a torn meniscus. Wide receiver Marqise Lee (knee) remains on the physically unable to perform list.
Left tackle Cam Robinson was held out after practicing for the first time this week in nearly a year after he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last September during the opening home game against New England. Rookie wide receiver Tre McBride also did not play.
RIGHT GUARD BATTLE
A.J. Cann started 15 of 16 games last season, but he’s not assured of starting this season at right guard. He’s in a battle with Will Richardson and Brandon Thomas and Marrone essentially declared a few days ago that the race is too close right now to declare a frontrunner.
"I’m not sure right now with that job," Marrone said earlier this week. "I think Brandon is in there. I think Will [Richardson] is in there, A.J. is in there. Potentially, someone else can be in there also depending on how it goes."
What it means is that Cann needs to have a strong game against the Eagles and especially next week against Miami if he’s going to reclaim his starting job. Cann is also getting snaps at center to help improve their depth behind Linder, the starter. Cann started at right tackle against the Eagles while Richardson started at left guard in place of Norwell.''
FORMER JAGUARS RETURN
Cody Kessler earned his first start with the Eagles on Thursday night, facing his former team. The Jaguars released Kessler in May after they drafted quarterback Gardner Minshew in the sixth round in the April draft. Kessler started four games in place of Blake Bortles last December. He completing 64 percent of his passes for 553 yards and a touchdown. Also making their returns were defensive tackle Malik Jackson and safety Jonathan Cyprien. The Jaguars released Jackson halfway through his six-year, $85.5 million contract that saved the franchise $11 million in cap space. Jackson started against the Jaguars. Cyprien, trying to make the Eagles' 53-man roster, was originally drafted by the Jaguars in the second round of the 2013 draft. He played with the franchise from 2013-16.
Defensive tackle Datone Jones went unblocked and unloaded a hard tackle on Kessler on the Eagles' opening drive. Kessler was forced to leave the game and was evaluated for a head injury. On the Eagles' next drive, Kessler did not return but was replaced by Clayton Thorson.
The Jaguars offensive line struggled on the opening two drives against the Eagles defensive front with two many protection breakdowns, especially tackles Cedric Ogbuehi and Leonard Wester. Minshew earned his second consecutive start and completed five of his first 10 attempts for 48 yards.
Running back Alfred Blue was forced to leave Thursday's game in the first quarter because of an ankle injury and was ruled out.
Jaguars linebacker Najee Goode played five seasons with the Eagles, including winning a Super Bowl with them during the 2017 season. But he didn’t think they would be able to hold up against the heat, though an afternoon thunderstorm helped cooled the game-time temperature to 80 degrees. Goode was hoping for mid 90-degree temperature like they practiced in this past week. ''I know they’re not ready for this (heat),’’ Goode said.’’I got all my boys that's there – Rodney McCloud, Malcolm Jenkins, Brandon Brooks, Corey Clement. We pretty much grew up in the middle of our careers together.''