We’ll finish or pre-game analysis by looking at the five most critical matchups in Sunday’s contest and then tomorrow I’ll reveal a brief ‘state of the team’ story prior to the game. Following that, Jaguars 101 will begin its live game log.
So without further delay, here are your top five matchups to watch during this weekend's contest of AFC South foes.
5. Jeremy Mincey vs. Michael Roos – The Jaguars have struggled to generate much of a pass rush the past few seasons and the problem has lingered this preseason. Mincey has shown potential at defensive end but must force Roos to work throughout the game at left tackle and make Matt Hasselbeck uncomfortable. If that doesn’t happen, Hasselbeck is capable of picking the Jaguars apart.
4. Maurice Jones-Drew vs. Tennessee linebackers – Can Jones-Drew get going against a very solid line backing unit? Barrett Ruud can really clog the middle and spill the Jaguars’ running back to athletics backers Will Witherspoon or Akeem Ayers. Jones-Drew will have to earn some tough yards here to get Jacksonville’s offense going.
3. Mike Thomas vs. Cortland Finnegan – Jacksonville’s only consistent wide receiver will have a tough matchup versus Finnegan, who is one of the most physical cornerbacks in the NFL. Thomas’ quickness will be an asset here but he can’t get thrown around and pushed off routes if the Jaguars want to establish a consistent passing game.
2. Will Rackley vs. Sen’Derrick Marks and Shaun Smith - Rackley had an up and down preseason but the Jaguars cannot afford for the rookie right guard to be inconsistent versus the Titans. Marks is a quick three-technique who can collapse a pocket on passing situations while Smith is a load to
move in the run game. No matter where Tennessee’s two defensive tackles are lined up, Rackley can’t allow them to utilize their strengths. Neither player is that good so this is a matchup the Jaguars can win if Rackley plays up to his potential early in his career.
1. Paul Posluszny vs. Chris Johnson – This is where Jacksonville’s middle linebacker can earn his big free agent money. Posluszny was brought in to stop the run and force running backs to other defenders. Johnson is coming off of a lengthy holdout but the league’s most explosive back is game ready. Slowing him down is a must for the Jaguars. They know they will get production out of Terrance Knighton up front, so Posluszny must do his job and fill gaps throughout the afternoon.