Patriots - Jaguars: Burning Questions

Insiders from the Jaguars and the Patriots answer a half dozen burning questions from who has to have a good preseason to what were the biggest roster changes for the team. Get inside to find out more.

INSIDER LOOK AT JAGUARS with Charlie Bernstein

What has been the biggest change to the Jags since last we saw them?

Bernstein: The Jaguars have added a lot of young talent up front in Tyson Alualu and Terrance Knighton and the free agent
linebacker additions should improve a unit that finished 28th in pass defense a season ago.  The biggest change we'll
see tonight is rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert.  Gabbert will likely struggle, but he gives Jaguars fans a hope for
the future.  He may not be Tom Brady, but his hair is reminiscent.

Who needs to have a good preseason or... else (a veteran or bubble guy, or multiple)?

Bernstein: The player who is likely on the hottest seat is quarterback David Garrard.  If Blaine Gabbert or Luke McCown can
prove to handle the workload at quarterback, Garrard may be on the outs, considering he is due a base salary of
nearly $8 million.  With Garrard's struggles during training camp and his back injury, he's certainly leaving the door
wide open.

Another player who is in serious danger of losing a roster spot is wide receiver Jason Hill.  The Jaguars, maybe
foolishly put their eggs in the Hill basket after a strong finish to 2010 and didn't address the wide receiver position
other than selecting Cecil Shorts in the fourth round.  Hill hasn't impressed anyone thus far in camp and if he gets
outplayed by undrafted rookies during preseason, he could find himself looking for work.

What do you expect from the Jags on Offense / Defense?

Bernstein: I honestly expect Blaine Gabbert and the Jaguars offense to struggle early on.  Without any offseason, Gabbert will
have his hands full with a New England defense that helped to a 14-2 record.  The game may be a little fast early
on, but I'd like to see him improve with more reps as the first half continues.  Gabbert will have his hands full without
Maurice Jones-Drew, Marcedes Lewis and Cecil Shorts.

Defensively, the Jaguars aren't playing many of their starters (Aaron Kampman and Terrance Knighton), and their
new free agents (Clint Session, Paul Posluszny and Dawan Landry) will play limited time.  I would expect the Pats first
team offense to score because that's what they seem to do quite easily against Jacksonville.

Prediction (and why)?
Yes they're meaningless, but fun to tease

Bernstein: I predict that anyone who bets on preseason football likely has a gambling problem.  That said, for informational and
fun purposes only, the Jaguars will win this football game by 7 or more points because Bill Belichick cares very little
about preseason outcomes.  That and Luke McCown will play a great amount of snaps against the Patriots backups
and the guy is pretty good.


How much should we expect to see the Patriots new veterans on defense?

Scott: New England has significantly revamped the defensive front with the addition of Albert Haynesworth, Mark Anderson, Shaun Ellis and even Marcus Stroud – who was later released.  The obvious focus is on stopping the interior push teams had against the Patriots in 2010. They were one of the least strong units against the run, with teams seemingly getting 3, 4 or even 54 yards at will with interior runs.

It seems the Patriots need to put those veterans to the test early to see what they have in talent now, so if it's not working they can keep plucking players off the street to fill in the gaps.

Which of the Pats stable of running backs do you see making an impact tonight?

Bernstein: Well, at least the answer isn't Laurence Maroney this time.  Actually, it would seem that New England needs to get some action from both veterans and rookies.  I'd expect to see a little mix of both throughout the day with the rookies, Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley getting an extra bit of attention. Either Sammy Morris or BenJarvus Green-Ellis need to show their stuff in preseason, else the cut line is possible, though Green-Ellis seems to be the top back in camp.

Will Tom Brady embrace Blaine Gabbert because they're identical hair twins?  Seriously though, aside from staying healthy what is the most important aspect that Bill Belichick will be looking at in this game?

Bernstein: Belichick approaches every preseason game the same way; he tries to get a feel for what the backups can contribute to the team.  Those who show they've applied their lessons from practice in the game will secure a roster spot, while others who make mental mistakes in the game, will likely be headed for the cut line later.

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