Blaine Gabbert didn’t even need to make it through the second preseason game to cement himself as the Jacksonville Jaguars starting quarterback for the regular season. Despite the appearance of a genuine quarterback competition, Henne never really stood a chance from a purely logical standpoint or from a talent perspective.
The starting quarterback job is settled, but what other positions remain in flux two games into the preseason?
Chad Henne is currently the de facto backup quarterback going into the regular season but his roster spot isn’t exactly a lock. Chad Henne has a cap hit of $4.15 million this year and only $1.5 million would count as “dead money” if he were cut. Over $4 million is a lot to pay a mediocre backup quarterback on a team that’s not competing for a playoff spot. The more prudent move would be to cut Henne and to bring Matt Scott onto the final roster and see if he can develop at all this year. Unfortunately Scott has a long way to go, and Jaguars might need to keep Henne if Gabbert’s thumb injury lingers.
Undrafted rookie Ryan Otten was considered an early favorite to grab the second tight end spot behind Marcedes Lewis after the Jaguars signed him out of San Jose State. Otten fits the mold as a move tight end who can create mismatches in two tight end sets but he’s been raw and inconsistent in camp so far. Allen Reisner came into the Jets game last Saturday and made an impact immediately, scoring a touchdown on the first drive off a pass from Blaine Gabbert. He ended up leading the team in snaps and he’ll keep getting a lot of action with Marcedes Lewis out this week against the Eagles.
Behind Jason Babin, the Jaguars are a huge question mark in the pass rush department. Many hoped second year player Andre Branch would flourish in Gus Bradley’s scheme but he’s been almost non-existent and is a legitimate candidate to be cut before the regular season. Aside from Branch, there are a lot of unknowns fighting for playing time. Paul Hazel has been outstanding in practice and has played well in the games so far, leading all defensive ends in Pro Football Focus’ pass rush grade(+1.0). Ryan Davis, Pannel Egboh, and J.D. Griggs round out an inexperienced and uninspiring group. Branch has a chance to stick on the roster by default, but he better show something if he wants to lockdown a job next year.
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89