Preseason opener fast takes: Jaguars fall to Raiders 27-11 in storm-delayed Hall of Fame Game

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Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Arden Key (49) celebrates a sack during the first half of the team's preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday.
Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end Arden Key (49) celebrates a sack during the first half of the team's preseason game against the Las Vegas Raiders on Thursday.

Jacksonville Jaguars coach Doug Pederson wanted the first preseason game to at least be efficient.

Not that there weren’t mistakes in Thursday’s 27-11 loss to the Las Vegas Raiders in the Hall of Fame Game, at Tom Benson Stadium in Canton, Ohio. There were plenty – a holding penalty that nullified an 88-yard punt return for a touchdown by Willie Johnson, a fumble by wide receiver Marvin Hall, a bad snap on a fourth-and-1 gamble at midfield and a chop block penalty that thwarted another promising drive.

But what Pederson wanted to avoid were the penalties borne of confusion, lack of communication, not knowing where to line up … in short, the kind of penalties that plagued the Jaguars last season under Urban Meyer.

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In the first preseason game last year, the Jaguars had three false-start penalties and two offensive holding calls on kickoff returns. There was little of that nature against the Raiders as the process looked seamless, if not the results.

"Operationally, it's hard in the preseason," Pederson said. "You've got so many guys, offense and defense, the personel was good. Special teams is very impactful because of the amount of guys to get in the game but we didn't really have any significant penalties, delays that cost us because of personnel."

The only delay of game was Mother Nature: kickoff was pushed back 40 minutes because of a thunderstorm in the area.

But like any preseason game, especially one in which the Jaguars sat 21 players, there was the good, the bad and the ugly.

The good: pass rush, Sargent, Cottrell 

The Jaguars posted five sacks, two by Arden Key and one by rookie first-round draft pick Travon Walker. K’Lavon Chaisson, who is one of the players with the hottest seat this preseason, was there to help Key clean up on the sacks and Walker showed a nice change-up  when Brandon Parker stopped an outside move, only to have Walker quickly and smoothly change direction and beat him inside to get to Jarret Stidham.

The other sacks were by free-agent rookie Israel Antwine, who nearly got to the quarterback another time, and linebacker Grant Morgan.

Although the offense struggled most of the game, there were some good plays by running backs Mekhi Sargent and Nathan Cottrell. Sargent had five carries for 22 yards and caught five passes for 37 yards; and Cottrell caught four passes for 35 yards and scored a touchdown on Kyle Sloter’s flip from 5 yards out – then bulled over the goal line for the 2-point conversion.

Sloter was 13 of 25 for 127 yards, all in the second half.

The bad: defense against run, screens

The defense yielded 159 yards rushing (4.8 per carry) and three of the Raiders backs, led by rookie Zamir White of Georgia, combined to catch nine passes for 60 yards. Screens and wheel routes were wide-open, which seems to be the continual bane of a Jaguars defense, no matter who’s coaching.

Pederson was confident defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell will get it ironed out.

"All things are correctable," he said. "All things we can work on practice as we move forward."

The offensive lineman outside of center Luke Fortner and tackle Walker Little struggled, although the Raiders had only one sack. Starting running back Snoop Conner didn’t find much room between the tackles.

While the Jaguars had only one pre-snap penalty, they still had six for 60 yards.

The ugly: Fumble, drops

Hall’s fumble came after he took a pass from Jake Luton (10 of 17, 94 yards) and converted a first down to the midfield and running back Ryquell Armstead and tight end Gerrit Prince had drops.

Guard Nick Ford had two bad penalties, the only false-start of the game and a chop block flag that erased a 9-yard gain by Sargent that would have taken the ball to the Vegas 14.

A severe weather warning is displayed on the scoreboard at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, before the Hall of Fame exhibition NFL football game between the Jaguars and the Las Vegas Raiders. The game was delayed 40 minutes.
A severe weather warning is displayed on the scoreboard at Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium in Canton, Ohio, before the Hall of Fame exhibition NFL football game between the Jaguars and the Las Vegas Raiders. The game was delayed 40 minutes.

Johnson’s long punt return came back because of a hold on safety Ayo Oyelola and a hold by tackle Will Richardson nullified a 23-yard pass from Luton to Jeff Cotton Jr.

The Jaguars went for it on fourth-and-one at their 48 early in the fourth quarter but Sloter dropped the snap and the play, a run to Cottrell, never developed.

Here’s the good news: the Jaguars have four preseason games, while everyone else (except the Raiders) has three. There also weren’t any significant injuries although there was a scare when cornerback Tyson Campbell went down early in the game. He was able to return for a few plays.

Twenty players held out

As promised, Pederson held out quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne -- but it was encouraging to see that Etienne made the trip, which means he must have kicked the illness had had that kept him out of practice on Tuesday.

Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Jake Luton (6) throws a pass during the first half of the NFL football exhibition Hall of Fame Game on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in Canton, Ohio.(AP Photo/David Dermer)
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Jake Luton (6) throws a pass during the first half of the NFL football exhibition Hall of Fame Game on Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in Canton, Ohio.(AP Photo/David Dermer)

Also not dressing for the game were quarterback C.J. Beathard, wide receivers Zay Jones, Laviska Shenault, Marvin Jones, Jamal Agnew and Christian Kirk, tight ends Evan Engram and Chris Manhertz, running back James Robinson, offensive tackles Cam Robinson and Jawaan Taylor, offensive guards Brandon Scherff and Tyler Shatley, cornerback Darious Williams, outside linebacker Josh Allen, inside linebackers Devin Lloyd and Foyesade Oluokun and defensive linemen Malcom Brown and Folorunso Fatukasi.

57 heaven

Jaguars punter Logan Cooke had a good night, and he might consider playing a particular number in the lottery.

Cooke's first three punts each went for 57 yards, bottling the Raiders up twice inside their own 20-yard line. He averaged 43.8 net yards on six kicks.

Cooke's streak of 57-yard punts ended when his fourth attempt went for 35 yards, but that was by design -- it pinned the Raiders back on their own 4 and after Chappelle Russell threw Zamir White down for a 3-yard loss and Vegas took a delay penalty, the Jaguars took over after a punt at the Raiders 46 and got to the 23 before Ford's chop block penalty killed the drive.

Elliott Fry kicked a 46-yard field goal in the third quarter for the Jaguars' first points of the game, while Ryan Santoso missed a 60-yard attempt in the first quarter just a few feet right. Both put their kickoffs in the end zone.

Back in camp

Training camp resumes on Sunday at the Episcopal School's Knight Campus. The Jaguars will work out on Tuesday and Thursday preceding the next preseason game, on Aug. 12 at home against Cleveland.

After practicing eight of nine days between July 25 to Aug. 2, the Jaguars don't practice more than two days in a row at home prior to the joint practice with Atlanta on Aug. 24-25 at Flowery Branch, Ga.

Contact Garry Smits at gsmits@gannett.com

This article originally appeared on Florida Times-Union: Preseason opener fast takes: Jaguars fall to Raiders 27-11 in Hall of Fame Game