Initial Impressions: Jaguars Lose Battle of Rookie QB's to Carolina, 16-10


The Jaguars lost another heartbreaker today, as Cam Newton’s late 4th quarter touchdown pass to tight end Greg Olsen put the Panthers ahead for the rest of the game. Blaine Gabbert, in his first regular season start, attempted to lead the Jaguars on two comeback drives in the final minutes, but wasn’t able to get the Jags into the endzone. It was an extremely sloppy game, thanks to two rookie quarterbacks that very much looked like rookies and a torrential downpour that flooded the field for most of the second and third quarters.

The disappointing part of the loss was that the Jaguars didn’t play that poorly – Cam Newton was returned to earth and the Panthers’ running game was far from dangerous and the Jacksonville D limited the Panthers to only two field goals through the first 55 minutes of play. Maurice Jones-Drew looked in top form, racking up 167 total yards and breaking off several explosive plays. Blaine Gabbert, in my opinion, looked pretty good and showed several glimpses into what hopefully becomes a very special future as the leader of the team. Most impressive was Blaine’s composure, even as the pocket was closing in around him. Often criticized for his tendency in college to ditch plays early and try to run from pressure, Gabbert stayed tall in the pocket under heavy pressure and made his reads and throws as if he was doing pitch-and-catch drills. The kid is undoubtedly easy on the eyes (from a playing perspective – although I know the lady Jaguars fans are now big time GM Gene believers) – his release comes from high over his head and is lightning quick, his throws were mostly frozen ropes and on target, and he showed all of the poise/leadership/[insert Ron Jaworski descriptor for young, impressive quarterback] you would hope to see from your future team leader. There’s much still to discuss, but even in an ugly game and tough loss, I think there’s a lot to stay positive about. The AFC South is still wide open and the Jags are one game back from the top. Let’s see what happens…

– Andrew Hofheimer

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Tags: Blaine Gabbert Cam Newton Carolina Panthers Jacksonville Jaguars

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