2015 DRAFT GUIDE
5 things from Jaguars' and Falcons' preseason

By CHARLES ODUM - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-30 03:14

ATLANTA (AP) - The Jacksonville Jaguars got the win they wanted. The Atlanta Falcons have the good health they needed.

The Jaguars held off the Atlanta Falcons 20-16 on Thursday night for their first preseason win, providing needed encouragement for a team coming off a 2-14 season.

Mike Kafka threw a 13-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Ebert early in the fourth quarter to give the Jaguars (1-3) the lead. Jordan Todman capped a strong preseason bid to be Maurice Jones-Drew's backup with an 18-yard touchdown run.

The Falcons finished 0-4, but there's ample evidence to shrug off the preseason record as meaningless. The Falcons also were 0-4 in the 2011 preseason before making the playoffs with a 10-6 regular season. Atlanta won only one preseason game last year before winning the NFC South with a 13-3 mark.

Most starters for each team did not play.

The best news for Atlanta is coach Mike Smith says his top players will be healthy for the regular season.

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Five things we know from the Jaguars' preseason:

ROOKIE HELP: It's clear the Jaguars found some big-play potential in the draft with Ace Sanders (fourth round) and Denard Robinson (fifth round). Each brings much-needed speed to the offense. Robinson, who ran for 36 yards on his team-leading 12 carries against Atlanta, could develop an expanding role through the season as the Jaguars take advantage of his multi-purpose skills.

MR: CONSISTENCY: Jaguars coach Gus Bradley praised the consistency shown through the preseason by Todman, who ran for a touchdown for the second straight week. With backup Justin Forsett missing the preseason with a toe injury, Todman may have earned more than just a spot on the roster.

QB OR NOT QB: Blaine Gabbert, expected to return from a broken thumb for the start of the regular season, is the Jaguars' starting quarterback. But there's uncertainty behind Gabbert. Chad Henne and Matt Scott each threw interceptions against the Falcons, and Scott also lost a fumble that was returned for an interception. Kafka threw the go-ahead TD pass, but he completed only 6 of 15 passes.

NO PRESSURE: The defense is still in need of a legitimate pass rusher. Cornerback Demetrius McCray and third-string defensive end Pannel Egboh had the only two sacks against Atlanta. The Jaguars claimed Jason Babin off waivers from the Eagles in November, but he is 33 and may not stand up as an every down player. Fellow ends Jeremy Mincey and 2012 second-round pick Andre Branch haven't been consistent.

DON'T SELL HIM SHORT: Cecil Shorts III barely made a mark in the preseason stats, but the third-year receiver from Mount Union should not be ignored. Shorts could emerge as the team's best big-play threat.

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Five things we know from the Falcons' preseason:

RIGHT TACKLE IS A CONCERN: Following center Todd McClure's retirement and the cost-cutting decision to release right tackle Tyson Clabo, the offensive line suffered a big loss when Clabo's presumed replacement, Mike Johnson, suffered a season-ending knee injury. Lamar Holmes, who played in only one game as a rookie in 2012, likely will start, but he was pressed by undrafted rookie Ryan Schraeder through the preseason. That may not be a good sign for Holmes or the rebuilt line.

THE CORNERBACKS ARE YOUNG: Asante Samuel, whose playing time was limited by a thigh injury during the preseason, is the only veteran starter at cornerback. First-round pick Desmond Trufant is the other starter and another rookie, Robert Alford, will see significant time on passing downs. Alford struggled when targeted in a loss at Tennessee in the third preseason game, though he had interceptions in each of the last two preseason games. There could be growing pains ahead for the rookies, especially Alford.

WHO IS BACKING UP MATT RYAN? Dominique Davis played almost the full game Thursday night and capped an uninspiring preseason as Ryan's backup. Davis avoided big mistakes until throwing his only interception midway through the fourth quarter but too often overthrew his receivers during the preseason. Davis, who spent 2012 inactive as the third quarterback, threw two TD passes with three interceptions for the preseason. It wouldn't be a surprise if the Falcons pick up a veteran quarterback cut by another team this weekend.

STEVEN JACKSON CAN STILL PLAY: If the Falcons provide some blocking, Jackson should have a big year as a dual threat the team hasn't had in recent years from its starting running back. Jackson looked big and tough and impressed teammates with his leadership. At 30, Jackson didn't look like he's headed for an immediate decline.

WHERE'S THE RUSH? The Falcons signed Osi Umenyiora to replace John Abraham as the top pass-rusher, but he is 31 and had only 6 sacks with the Giants in 2012. The team needs Kroy Biermann, Jonathan Massaquoi and others to add balance to the pass rush. Massaquoi had the highlight of Thursday night's game with his sack, forced fumble, recovery and touchdown return.

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AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Kirk CousinsAug 31 09:32a

Washington Redskins QB Kirk Cousins was named the starting quarterback Monday, Aug. 31, over QB Robert Griffin III, according to a source.

Ryan BroylesAug 31 09:12a

Detroit Lions WR Ryan Broyles was cut Monday, Aug. 31.

Gerell RobinsonAug 31 08:52a

Miami Dolphins WR LaRon Byrd, WR Kevin Cone, WR Tyler McDonald and TE Gerell Robinson were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

Kevin ConeAug 31 08:52a

Miami Dolphins WR LaRon Byrd, WR Kevin Cone, WR Tyler McDonald and TE Gerell Robinson were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

LaRon ByrdAug 31 08:52a

Miami Dolphins WR LaRon Byrd, WR Kevin Cone, WR Tyler McDonald and TE Gerell Robinson were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

David PaulsonAug 31 08:42a

San Diego Chargers TE David Paulson, QB Chase Rettig, TE Logan Stokes, WR Titus Davis and RB Jahwan Edwards were waived Sunday, Aug. 30.

Daniel ThomasAug 31 08:32a

Chicago Bears RB Daniel Thomas, TE Kevin Greene, WR Jeremy Kelley, WR Levi Norwood and TE Chris Pantale were cut Sunday, Aug. 30. WR John Chiles (undisclosed) was waived/injured.

Menelik WatsonAug 31 08:22a

Oakland Raiders OT Menelik Watson (Achilles') said on Twitter that he is out for the season with a ruptured Achilles.

Vaughn MartinAug 31 05:22a

Kansas City Chiefs CB Aaron Hester was among 11 players cut by the team on the weekend of Aug. 30-31. Other players included WR Kenny Cook, T Anthony Dima, [ More ]

Amari CooperAug 31 12:02a

Oakland Raiders WR Amari Cooper had four catches for 62 yards in a preseason game against the Arizona Cardinals Sunday, Aug. 30.

Brandon BostickAug 30 11:42p

The Minnesota Vikings cut TE Brandon Bostick Sunday, Aug. 30.

Joe BanyardAug 30 11:42p

The Minnesota Vikings cut RB Joe Banyard Sunday, Aug. 30.

Tim JenningsAug 30 07:22p

The Chicago Bears have released CB Tim Jennings Sunday, Aug. 30, according to a source informed of the team's plans.

Randall CobbAug 30 04:42p

Updating a previous report, Green Bay Packers WR Randall Cobb (shoulder) has been diagnosed with an AC joint sprain, after undergoing further tests Sunday, Aug. 30, according to a [ More ]

Tandon DossAug 30 02:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Tandon Doss, TE Connor Hamlett and QB Jeff Tuel were waived Sunday, Aug. 30. The team also waived/injured WR Greg Jenkins (undisclosed).

Jeff TuelAug 30 02:32p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Tandon Doss, TE Connor Hamlett and QB Jeff Tuel were waived Sunday, Aug. 30. The team also waived/injured WR Greg Jenkins (undisclosed).

Saalim HakimAug 30 01:52p

New York Jets WR Saalim Hakim, WR Austin Hill, WR Jonathon Rumph and TE Matt LaCosse were released Sunday, Aug. 30.

Sam BradfordAug 30 10:12a

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford completed all 10 of his passes for 121 yards and three touchdowns during the preseason game against the Green Bay Packers Saturday, Aug. 29. [ More ]

Joique BellAug 30 10:02a

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell (knee, Achilles') has ramped up his return-to-play workouts in recent weeks and said he is 'getting close.' Head coach Jim Caldwell said Bell looks [ More ]

Denard RobinsonAug 29 02:12p

Jacksonville Jaguars RB Denard Robinson might be the Jaguars' starting running back to start the season, according to Mike DiRocco of ESPN.com.

Stevie BrownAug 29 01:22p

Houston Texans SS Stevie Brown was released Saturday, Aug. 29.

Andre BranchAug 29 12:22p

Jacksonville Jaguars DE Andre Branch (knee) has been diagnosed with a sprained medial collateral ligament and will miss significant time.

James DevelinAug 29 10:12a

Updating a previous report, New England Patriots FB James Develin (leg) suffered a broken tibia during the third preseason game Friday, Aug. 28, according to a source. It is [ More ]

Matthew StaffordAug 29 09:52a

Detroit Lions QB Matthew Stafford completed 11-for-15 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns during the preseason game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Friday, Aug. 28.

Blake BortlesAug 29 12:12a

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles completed 20 of 29 passes for 245 yards and a touchdown and ran for 35 yards in a 22-17 loss to the Detroit Lions [ More ]

Alex SmithAug 29 12:02a

Kansas City Chiefs QB Alex Smith went 16 of 18 passing for 171 yards and two touchdowns in a 34-10 win over the Tennessee Titans in the preseason Friday, Aug. 28.

Darren McFaddenAug 28 10:12p

Dallas Cowboys RB Joseph Randle will share reps with RB Darren McFadden and RB Lance Dunbar because the Cowboys 'intend to take a committee approach,' according to Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Bishop SankeyAug 28 01:22p

Updating previous reports, Tennessee Titans RB Bishop Sankey has impressed his coaches with improvement this preseason. 'I think Bishop made significant improvement last week in practices as far as [ More ]

Jake BequetteAug 28 08:52a

New England Patriots TE/DE Jake Bequette (undisclosed) was waived/injured Thursday, Aug. 27.

Miles AustinAug 28 08:32a

Philadelphia Eagles WR Miles Austin hasn't stood out, or received many chances to stand out, thus in training camp. His role is undetermined as he could start on the [ More ]

Nelson AgholorAug 27 10:22p

Philadelphia Eagles WR Nelson Agholor should be the 'second-most productive receiver on the team when the season ends,' according to Jeff McLane of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Ryan MallettAug 27 07:52p

Updating a previous report, Houston Texans QB Ryan Mallett missed practice Thursday, Aug. 27, because he overslept. Mallett was present for meetings later on, however. He will also be at practice Friday, Aug. 28.

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