Gabbert Officially Gets the Nod
Jaguars fans will get a sneak preview into the near future on Thursday as rookie Blaine Gabbert will start at quarterback with David Garrard still suffering from a sore back. Garrard hasn't practiced since last Thursday evening and today it became official when the 10-year pro could not participate in the team's walk-through.
Gabbert will face a remodeled New England Patriots defense which finished 25th in the NFL last season but still boasts veteran stars such as Vince Wilfork, Albert Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis and Devin McCourty.
"It will be great exposure for him," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said. "I'm more concerned with him just continuing to progress, continuing to work on all the different aspects of playing quarterback in the National Football League."
Blaine Gabbert and Andy Dalton figure to be the only quarterbacks from the 2011 draft class to start their team's first preseason game.
Off the Tractor and Into Uniform
Whenever the Jaguars have an injury at quarterback, all they seem to do is pick up the phone and dial up Todd Bouman. The 39-year old veteran from Saint Cloud State has had stints with six different NFL teams and his familiarity with the Jaguars playbook makes him an easy candidate to step in and serve whatever role is needed.
Last season Jack Del Rio and the Jaguars needed Bouman on two separate occasions, once when Luke McCown tore his ACL and then again when David Garrard suffered a concussion. Bouman received the call when he was on his personal tractor and started six days following in the Jaguars 42-20 loss at Kansas City.
"We actually made a call to the tractor again and Todd will be joining us this evening," Jack Del Rio told reporters. "Pulled him off the tractor once again. He's a great guy and we think he's a good veteran player. He'll be able to come in and pick up and help us preform throughout the preseason and we'll see from there."
Don't Expect a Night of Stars
Although there will be plenty of excitement surrounding Blaine Gabbert's first professional start, Gabbert will have to navigate his way through the Patriots defense without some of his best weapons. Pro Bowl running back Maurice Jones-Drew will not make the trip to Foxboro, and Pro Bowl tight end Marcedes Lewis will travel, but will likely not play.
Defensively the Jaguars will be without defensive end Aaron Kampman who is still rehabilitating from last season's torn ACL and defensive tackle Terrance Knighton, who hasn't participated in any Jaguars practices due to his weight struggles. Free agent signees Clint Session, Paul Posluszny and Dawan Landry will see very limited action according to Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and the host of "The Sports Crunch" on the Aquarius 7 Broadcasting Network (national), and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie
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