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What to Watch For: Jaguars vs. Dolphins

Saturday night, the Jaguars host the Dolphins in the second preseason game of the year. Here’s what I’ll be watching for:

Will Fred Taylor play? I’m not sure its all that important for Taylor to play at all in the preseason. After he didn’t play at all last week, the Jaguars Pro Bowl running back might get a few carries against the Dolphins. Last week, running back’s coach Kennedy Pola talked Jack Del Rio out of playing Taylor. Would he do that again? “Kennedy can be pretty convincing,” Del Rio said.

Troy Williamson. With the Jaguars receivers decimated by injuries, Williamson could get on the field in a Jaguars uniform for the first time. A hip flexor/groin injury held him out of action last week. If he plays, I want to see what kind of an impact his speed can make. I also want to see how he catches the ball. That was an issue with him in Minnesota, although Williamson says that he’s put that behind him and is starting fresh in Jacksonville.

Mike Walker’s Hands. During off-season practices and later in training camp, Walker caught everything and made it look easy. But last week, he dropped two passes and fought another one. That was the first game Walker had played in in over two years, so I’ll give him a pass for now, but that excuse won’t fly any more. Walker has the tools to be a major impact in the passing game. But he has to be able to deal with the strain of gameday.

Pass Rush. Especially Quentin Groves when and if he goes against the Dolphins rookie tackle Jake Long. Long was the first pick of the draft and he has the kind of talent that Groves will have to deal with on Sunday’s.

Witherspoon’s Speed. Brian Witherspoon was an absolute blur on punt and kick returns last week. But he did fumble one punt return. Witherspoon has the speed to be the most electrifying return man in Jaguars’ history, but he has to hold onto the ball. I’m expecting a big return from “Spoony” Saturday night.

One Day Wonders. Del Rio had a good line here. “He plays great one day, then the next day, you wonder where he is.” Among the players who flashed in the first game is Mkristo Bruce, who tallied 2 1/2 sacks in the second half. He’s shows that he has some ability, but can he do it consistently and can he do it against better competition. Considering the Derrick Harvey stalemate, the Jaguars should probably find out just what kind of an impact Bruce can make at defensive end.

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