In a David vs Goliath type battle, the Jaguars will face the Super Bowl Champion New York Giants on Friday. Leading the charge will be the fearless Blaine Gabbert at quarterback for the Jaguars. Famously finishing at the head of the worst offense in the league last year, Gabbert is looking to show that he can turn the tables in 2012. As the first preseason game this Friday, Gabbert hopes to showcase some of the skills he has been working on during his first full offseason.
Gabbert will have 17-20 plays on the field, according to Mike Mularkey via Jaguars Insider. A lot can happen in 17-20 plays. If the Jags go three and out every series, Gabbert could be in for a total of 6-7 drives (short, short drives). Personally, I think that the drives will be much longer and we should expect Gabbert to do more with the football than simply hand the ball off to Rashad Jennings.
Gabbert has been experiencing growth this offseason and could be poised to have a decent year. Maybe the kind of year he would have had if he had sat out his whole first season or if he had entered the draft this year rather than last. He is hitting his receivers more (not that they are catching them), his mechanics have reportedly been far better than they were last season (he could only go up after all), and he is not wilting under pressure like he used to.
That will all change when he takes off his red “no-hit” jersey.
The Giants have a behemoth of a pass rush and will undoubtedly try to punish Gabbert for taking the field. This is the preseason, but if they manage to scare Gabbert into his 2011 ways then that’s one less team they have to worry about on their way to a Super Bowl repeat. Will Gabbert step up into the pocket and hope his depleted offensive line can protect him? That’s a lot of faith to put into some guys not playing their natural positions and usually buried on the depth chart.
With a depleted offensive line, a backup running back (albeit a good one) taking the carries, only one projected starting receiver playing, and a brand new offense installed how will Gabbert perform.
Here’s my projected stat line: 2 sacks, 93 yards, 8/14, one touchdown drive (not necessarily a pass), no interceptions.
Gabbert was sacked 8.8% of his dropbacks last year. With an offensive line ravaged with injuries against a strong pass rush, I think that two sacks is perfectly possible. Based on the chemistry that is developing between Gabbert and Laurent Robinson, I think that eight completed passes for 93 yards is quite possible for the young quarterback. There will probably be a few checkdowns, but from what I hear those have been developing into decent plays for the offense. 57% completion is much better than his 50.8% from last year and should reflect confidence throwing the ball. I expect Jennings will be the one to pound in a touchdown under Gabbert, but hey if he throws it I’ll take it.
How do you guys think Gabbert will do against the Giants tomorrow?
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims