JACKSONVILLE – There were well-known names and young names playing for jobs.
This was the 2023 preseason finale — and for the Jaguars, a 31-18 win over the Miami Dolphins in front of 64,516 at EverBank Stadium on Saturday night was an early dress rehearsal followed by a lot of auditioning and evaluation.
The game ended in worrisome fashion, with officials ending the game with 8:35 left after Dolphins wide receiver Daewood Davis left the field on a stretcher following an injury. He had been the intended receiver on a third-and-three play from the Dolphins’ 41.
Officials announced that the teams chose not to continue play, thus suspending play.
“It was the right thing to do at the time,” Jaguars head coach Doug Pederson said.
Added Pederson: “As a head coach, you start looking at your team, you start looking at their team, you start looking at body language and how guys are. After the time that had passed, [Dolphins Head Coach] Mike [McDaniel] and I pulled myself together and talked about suspending the game where it was. We had player representatives involved and of course [the NFL office in] New York involved.
“This game is about player safety. I know it’s a preseason game and some guys are fighting for spots, but at the same time we want to make sure everyone is 100 percent.”
Jaguars quarterback Trevor Lawrence opened his post-game media availability and talked about Davis.
“It’s obviously not something you want to see,” he said. “It’s obviously a tough, tough scene, a game we all love and play, to see a guy go down like that. I know we’re all thinking about him.”
Jaguar safety Andre Cisco said he supported the decision.
“I’m glad the NFL is taking the step,” he said. “At the end of the day, we’re ready to go on. I don’t think you expect them to ever call it a game. So for them to just humanize it a little bit and bring us together and say, ‘It’s not right , we’ll move on, we’ll end the game here’, I appreciate that.
“It’s tough and it’s a lot of guys playing for spots right now. It makes it tough and I could understand if they kept it going but I understand them stopping it.