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5 takeaways from Jags loss to Raiders in Hall of Fame Game

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The Jacksonville Jaguars’ first preseason game is in the books when they traveled to Canton to play the Las Vegas Raiders in Thursday’s Hall of Fame game. Unfortunately, the team didn’t get to start with a win after losing 27-11 to the Raiders, but as fans know, preseason is all about scores.

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There weren’t many offensive chances in the game, but it’s worth noting that the Jags played a very limited number of their starting positions on this side of the ball. At the same time, the fans hoped for a stronger game of the team’s young players, but they still had a lot of pre-season games ahead of them.

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While the Raiders finished the game with 27 points, the bulk of the Jaguars’ highlights came on the defensive side. Unlike the attack, the defense played well in the starting XI, albeit for a limited time.

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Like every game, Thursday’s game had good and bad conclusions. Here are the five people we rounded up when the Jags first took the field under Doug Pederson:

Travon Walker demonstrates the ability to make an immediate impact

August 4, 2022; Canton, Ohio, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Travon Walker (44) fires Las Vegas Raiders quarterback Jarrett Stidham (3) in the first quarter of a 2022 Hall of Fame game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The game’s biggest selling point was undoubtedly that Travon Walker #1 had an impact from the first shot he took to the field until the last episode he was on the field. During the first offensive play of the game, Walker Bull broke through Brandon Parker’s Raiders offensive tackle and pressured quarterback Jarrett Stidham. While the pass was still complete and Walker took a questionable hit on the pass flag, the fans were just happy to see the rookie make an impact in his first NFL snap.

During his second streak on the field, Walker was able to get his first NFL preseason sack in games two and seven after overpowering Parker and using his length to keep the veteran away from him. The game was one that seemed to fire up the defense as Arden Key followed with a sack in the next game.

Several people questioned the Jags’ decision to draft Walker, so there was no doubt a lot of attention on him as Thursday’s game was the first of the entire 2022 NFL season. At least for now, he’s handled the spotlight almost perfectly, and it’ll be interesting to see how much he improves as he moves forward.

Arden Key also gave fans another reason to be excited about the pass rush.

Jaguars DL (53) Arden Key speaks to coach and sideline during an organized Jacksonville Jaguars team activity at TIAA Bank Field on Monday, May 23, 2022. [Florida Times Union]

While Walker had a solid night, Key had an even better one. He finished the game with two sacks (plus two tackles) and is now the NFL’s preseason sack leader.

Of course, the first sack came right after Walker as mentioned earlier, and the second came in the second quarter when outside linebacker K’Lavon Chaisson came under initial pressure and Key came right behind him to finish off quarterback Nick Mullens.

During the first sack, Key gained the upper hand after being hit by lineman John Simpson and he created some separation to get to Stidham. Then during the second sack, he was freed with an outward stunt after initially throwing himself inside.

Key was more of a second-wave free agent signing with whom the Jags were able to secure a one-year, $4 million contract at the end of March. If he continues to play as he did on Thursday, they will steal from the young defender, who was also a great team leader.

Key received a passing score of 79.4 according to Focus on professional football Last season, he played for the San Francisco 49ers, a team he says he learned a lot from. On Thursday, he picked up where he left off and collected 73.3 in yesterday’s game. It’s not a bad way to start his career with the Jags, and the fans left the game in awe of his ability to chase the quarterback.

Young players need to play cleaner in terms of avoiding big penalties and ball safety.

August 4, 2022; Canton, Ohio, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Kyle Slaughter (4) passes in the third quarter against the Las Vegas Raiders in the 2022 Hall of Fame game at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Serious things that hurt young teams in the regular season, such as ball safety and penalties, showed up in the Jags on Thursday night. While their penalty figure of six was the same as the Raiders, the Jaguars had too many penalties at key moments.

For example, wide receiver Willie Johnson was returned a punt for a touchdown due to a holding call from defenseman Ayo Oyelola. There was also a holding penalty from offensive lineman Will Richardson, who nullified a catch by Jeff Cotton that would have put the Jags on the Raiders’ 16-yard line, along with other penalties.

Then, in terms of ball safety, wide receiver Marvin Hall once fumbled the ball after converting a second down. The fumble occurred as the Jags crossed the 50-yard line and entered Raider territory. There was also an unfortunate trade that took place between center KC McDermott and quarterback Kyle Slaughter when the Jags were trying to convert a fourth-and-one situation. As a result, they flipped the ball on down.

Fortunately, these mistakes were made by duplicate players. However, it will be interesting to see if these players can correct these mistakes as they move forward, because some of them may end up getting places in practice squads if they turn things around.

Jags rush defense needs some work

August 4, 2022; Canton, Ohio, USA; Las Vegas Raiders running back Josh Jacobs, 28, plays against Jacksonville Jaguars linebacker Shaquille Quarterman, 50, and defenseman Adam Gotsis, 96, in the first quarter at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

The Jaguars have had a few instances where they let the Raiders’ fast-paced attack get good results, even when many of their defensive starters were in the first two series or so. After the game, Pederson said stopping the run was one of the biggest issues he faced on Thursday and fans should take note next week.

The Raiders exited the game with 159 rushing yards and had almost five yards per carry overall (4.8). The Raiders’ top two players, Josh Jacobs and Zamir White, finished the game with 4.7 and six yards per carry average after first-half snaps, respectively. And while it’s only the Jaguars’ first preseason game, it’s worth mentioning their struggles so fans can watch the defense move forward.

The good news is that the Jags are missing three of their best inside players: linebacker Foye Oluokun, rookie linebacker Devin Lloyd and defenseman Foley Fatukashi. Time will tell if they play against Cleveland next week, but regardless, defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell can spend a decent amount of time learning the basics of running defense as it’s an important part of winning the AFC South.

Elliot Fry ends the night with Jags’ single field goal after Ryan Santoso misses.

Jacksonville Jaguars kicker Elliot Fry (12) scores a field goal during Day 9 of Jaguars training camp on Tuesday, August 2, 2022 at the Knight Athletic Complex at Jacksonville Episcopal School.
Jackie Jagsday9 51 [Florida Times-Union]

Other than denying the return of the punt, there isn’t much to discuss, but the Jaguars had two field goal opportunities. The first was Ryan Santoso’s missed 60-yard try late in the first quarter. The good thing was that the shot was strong enough and would have been good from a long distance, but it was slightly to the right of the post.

The next try came in the second half when Elliot Fry hit a 46-yard field goal late in the third. This attempt was a big one for him as he only joined the Jags a week ago when the team released Andrew Mavis.

Both players are in a battle right now and every pre-season game is a chance for them to see how they handle game situations. They have been fairly evenly matched in terms of their accuracy in practice, but time is probably ticking for a decision as the first wave of lineup cuts should come on 16. This means both kickers have a big week of practice ahead of them and likely an even bigger game. when the Cleveland Browns come to town on August 12.



The story originally appeared on Jaguars Wire.


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