It was the fourth and final game of the preseason the most important night in a football player’s life. It’s for all the marbles so to speak. All the blood, sweat, tears, broken bones, sprained ankles, and practices have prepared them for this night commonly called D night. Players that starred in their collegiate career otherwise wouldn’t be here are reduced to hoping to make a roster. Similar to Sharrod Neasmen an undrafted free agent out of Florida Atlantic last year who got the call as one of the crucial 53. He went on to experience his childhood dream of playing in the Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the result was different. As a defensive back, it probably went something like this Tom Brady was meticulously moving down the field in the 2-minute drill it was 4th down with one yard to go if they get it they keep the drive alive. Instead, he intercepted and took it back for the winning touchdown, but we all know how that ended. None the less he is indeed a success story. One can go an entire NFL career and never make it to dance on the big stage.
Thanks to his buddy defensive lineman Chris Odom who tipped a pass Neasman made an interception on the tip drill and perhaps secured his roster spot and another trip to the Super Bowl. At least this year it’s better thanks to a procedure change by the league rookies and bubble players aren’t sent home week to week. If you have a bad day, game, or week, you get a chance to redeem yourself. One cut at the end of preseason. There’s no such thing as a good injury but the worst of time is during tryouts. Jarrod Harper of the Jags lay motionless on the field at the 12:17 mark in the first quarter. He was assisted from the field of play on the medical cart. It was announced later that he was being evaluated for a possible concussion.
Matt Ryan the league MVP had nothing to prove allowing Matt Simms to start at QB for the Falcons. He completed 11-15-195 yards. Julio Jones had time to cool the jets arguably the best wide receiver in football. This night was for those players coaches wanted to evaluate further. Those two combined to be the most prolific duo in the NFL last season the record speaks for itself.
Brandon Allen started at QB for the Jags. He looked good moving the team down the field into to scoring position; it went bad on a high arching corner throw.The ball stayed on the field of play instead of over the end line out of bounds “that spot where your coach tells you to throw it just in case it’s incomplete only your guy can catch it.” Believe me, its easier said than done, Blidi Wreh-Wilson intercepted it. He played the body position game to the corner of the end zone leaping to grab the ball with one hand.
Fourth Round Pick Dee Dee Westbrook, the former Heisman Candidate, was impressive catching 6 passes for 115 yards and one touchdown in the first half that’s what happens when talent meets talent. His film suggests top-50 ability, but off-field issues dropped him to this spot. The speedster should add some juice to an offense that ranked toward the bottom of the league in points and big plays. This could end up being great value for the Jags if he keeps his head on straight. — Mark Dulgerian
Allen made up for his errant pass with a 43-yard touchdown pass to Westbrook; he simply out ran safety Quincy Mauger to the end zone to put the finishing touches on a drive that went 6 plays 81 yards in 2.58. J Woodard of the Jags had a sack fumble, and two plays later PJ Davis added another sack on Sims perhaps one of the made the team, or both its effort plays like that, that makes a coach think twice or seek a third opinion. Jags kicker J Myers kicked a 56-yard field goal I’d say someone put his name in bold representing keep him. Then he kicked a 36 yarder which drew an asterisk. Double keep him. The most exciting play of the night was a Sims pass to D hall on a slant for 65 yards at the beginning of the fourth quarter.
#9 Alek Torgersen the only quarterback not named Matt for the Falcons came in with a big play successful pass to D Girswald for 51yards. Then he hit wide receiver Anthony Dable right between the hands he dropped it at the two-yard line that kind of play leaves you with anxiety and a sleepless night. Disaster struck shortly after that when a pass was thrown deep right to D Burton it went off his hands popped up and was intercepted by T Howard in the corner of the end zone.
All in all the game might not mean a whole lot to fans, but to these players, it’s the most important one of their lives. The Jacksonville Jaguars won on the score board 13-7 however the score to this game didn’t matter the true winners are the players that walk into their childhood dreams called the NFL.