Jordan Palmer was a surprising delight for Jaguars fans on Friday night. He went 9/13 for 110 yards and led the team on late scoring drives to top the Giants 32-31 – including a superb strike to Matt Veldman for the two point conversion to win. But it wasn’t the stat line, poise, or even the fact that he was facing third and fourth stringers that suddenly made Palmer appear so good.
It was his rifle of an arm.
While Blaine Gabbert threw well and connected on some good passes, his arm simply was not firing the ball like Palmer against the Giants. Chad Henne similarly had some difficulty making his passes look like the pro-ball he is used to throwing. Maybe it is just that Palmer is a great practice QB (we saw that in Luke McCown) or maybe that he’s actually got an arm to go with his strong pedigree, but something was on fire in the third-stringer on Friday.
I’m not advocating that Palmer be shot up the depth chart to beat out Henne or Gabbert (he isn’t that good). But Palmer really put on an aerial show that the Jags haven’t seen in the regular season, preseason, or camp in a long time. The ability to make every pass crisp and thrown with some zip is something that has been missing for a long, long time. So maybe it’s time the Jags did think about bringing three passers into the season.
There are a few reasons for this:
- If Blaine Gabbert falters, it will be nice to have Henne and Palmer both available to step in just in case.
- If there are injuries to Gabbert and Henne (as he was last year) it will be nice to have some insurance
- If Gabbert is really bad it’ll be nice for the coaching staff to have someone to evaluate who could be a long term option in the rebuilt Jaguars
Is Palmer good enough to start? I don’t think so. Is he good enough to look really good in practice and the preseason? Definitely. I’m pleased he’s on the roster, because his play on Friday was some of the best we Jaguars fans have seen in a long time.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims