Great Start For Gabbert
Blaine Gabbert had moments on Thursday night that showed off his lack of experience and also potential greatness. The rookie from Missouri completed 9 of his 15 passing attempts for 60 percent, a number that is a little lower than you would hope for a starting quarterback. Then when you look at no fewer than four of those pass attempts being dropped, you can see whey the organization is so excited about the rookie.
"From the live performance that we saw, he did some decent things directing the team down the field," Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio said. "You know, didn't look like he was in awe or that the situation was too big for him."
Gabbert's feats were even more impressive considering he was without starters Maurice Jones-Drew, Marcedes Lewis and Eben Britton, as well as Cecil Shorts, who has been one of the team's best receivers in camp. Take into account there was no offseason training activities or contact with the coaching staff and Blaine's feats were not much short of miraculous.
"There's definitely room for improvement," Gabbert said following the game. "I've been here 11 days, so we're kind of in a crash course in learning the offense. But while I was out there, we didn't have any mental errors. We got all of our plays in on time. We didn't have to use any unnecessary timeouts. We had no delay of games. Like I said we have to capitalize on our opportunities. We were in the red zone numerous times. I took a sack on one. We just need to come away with touchdowns. You aren't going to win a game with field goals."
Although Gabbert held the football too long at times and made some mistakes, try to remember that he's only going to get better with more reps. For example, in David Garrard's preseason opener last season, his ninth as a professional, he completed 5 of 10 passes for 35 yards.
The longer Blaine Gabbert plays with the starting unit the more comfortable he's going to be. Since he's the quarterback of the future and playing now, Jaguars fans may be seeing the future a lot quicker than initially anticipated.
Underwood is Stealing Reps
Jaguars third-year wide receiver Tiquan Underwood is really fast. If professional football were more of a track and field event, Underwood may be the first guy you'd pick. Unfortunately, perhaps the biggest factor in being a successful wideout in any league involves catching the forward pass, something Underwood hasn't shown an ability to do in three years.
Tiquan Underwood played early in Thursday night's game and picked up right where he left off last season. Dropping passes. Underwood has dropped passes ever since being drafted in the seventh round and at no point over the past three training camps has he shown any reason why he deserved a roster spot. At this point, all he's doing is taking away reps from players who could help the team if they earned a roster spot.
Big Role Expected for Roth
Jaguars.com senior editor John Oesher tweeted that the Jaguars are planning to use defensive end Aaron Kampman more in a situational pass-rushing role. With Kampman rehabbing from a second torn ACL in as many season, Jacksonville will need to get good snaps on a defensive end unit that hasn't accomplished much.
Although second-year players Austen Lane and Aaron Morgan have impressed in camp, they were virtually invisible in Thursday night's 47-12 loss to the Patriots. With Aaron Kampman playing less snaps, the Jaguars need to find production from the defensive end position, and a lot of that will be put on the newly acquired Matt Roth.
Roth has been solid as a 3-4 outside linebacker for both the Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns, and he will have to be a starting caliber player for Jacksonville, if they're going to find any kind of pass rush this season.
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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