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To get ready for Friday's Detroit Lions game, I exchanged five questions with Ryan Day from Big Cat Country, SB Nation's Jacksonville Jaguars blog. You can check out his answers below.
1. I know the original plan was for Chad Henne to be the Jaguars' starting quarterback this season, but Blake Bortles has looked really impressive this preseason. Is Bortles' play forcing the coaches to alter their plan?
Absolutely. As recently as late July, head coach Gus Bradley was quoted as saying that "in an ideal world" Chad Henne would start all 16 games for the Jaguars. I don't believe he knew how quickly Bortles would develop. I don't believe anyone did. I certainly didn't. Admittedly, I thought preseason would be rough for him, and that we'd see obvious growing pains. But Bortles looks confident and poised in the pocket. If you didn't know he was a rookie, you'd never guess that about him. After the draft, many of us thought Bortles would supplant Henne during the bye week in mid-November. Now? I think Henne is still the starter Week 1, but I wouldn't be surprised if Bortles makes his debut in Week 3 when the Jaguars host the Colts in their home opener.
2. Just how awesome are the Jaguars' new scoreboards?
[answer redacted because NSFW]
3. The Jaguars haven't had a winning season since 2007, but they seem to be moving in the right direction as a franchise. What are the expectations like for the 2014 Jaguars?
To get better. It may sound like a tired cliché (and, frankly, really vague), but when you're in the second year of a rebuild and you have a new running back, a rookie quarterback and a handful of new starters on defense... it's the easiest way to see if the rebuild is working. Do we rush the passer more effectively? Are we scoring touchdowns in the red zone instead of settling for field goals? How's our third down efficiency? Are we competitive in the fourth quarter? I'm not even looking for an improvement on wins (although I think it happens) because I'm looking at a roster that has gone through an incredible amount of turnover in the past two seasons. I want the Jaguars to be a competitive football team.
4. Aside from quarterback, what are some position battles that Jaguars fans will be keeping a close eye on during Friday's game?
The interior of the offensive line. Mike Brewster, our starting center coming into camp, has been underwhelming. And we can't quite figure out who to put at right guard. We drafted guard Brandon Linder out of Miami to play right guard, but he's been getting reps at center in practice. There's three guys -- Mike Brewster, Brandon Linder and Jacques McClendon -- who are competing for two spots at center and right guard. In my opinion, it's a better (and closer) battle than the one at quarterback.
5. How has former Michigan Wolverine Denard Robinson looked so far during his second year in the NFL, and what kind of role is he going to have in the Jacksonville offense this season?
He's gotten a lot better. He was underwhelming his rookie season for several reasons -- mainly, he was learning a new position and he still hadn't fully recovered from a 2012 injury that prohibited him from keeping his hands open for very long. But this year, he's been a lot better in camp and in preseason, catching the majority of passes thrown his way. I think Robinson is also settling into the role that offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch has for him. In both preseason games so far, he's shown acceleration and speed that helped him get around the edge and avoid defenders for a touchdown. Watch for him late in the game.
Editor's Note: SB Nation's partner FanDuel is hosting a $100,000 Fantasy Football Contest for Week 1's NFL games. It's only $10 to join and first prize is $10,000. Starts Sunday, September 7th at 1pm ET. Here's the link.