What to Watch For This Week


This Friday, the Jaguars have a few story lines worth watching for as they travel to New Orleans. Stories include players like Justin Blackmon as well as Blaine Gabbert, as they will both take the field together for the first time. There is also the currently developing story of how the offensive line will compensate, now that Eugene Monroe has sustained a head injury.

Justin Blackmon will take the field for about half the game. Blackmon was the 5th overall pick in the 2012 draft, who the Jaguars moved up for in order to give quarterback Blaine Gabbert a chance to succeed. Blackmon was the highest rated receiver in the draft and hard not to see why with his level of play and production in college. Since joining with the team after a ten day holdout, the team has experienced a significant upgrade at wide receiver, with DAY 15 the best for the passing attack. Blackmon has the ability to make Gabbert look great, so look for him to make some great snags as well as being the target on a few deep balls.

Gabbert was playing at a higher level in his first preseason game. While Laurent Robinson, Mike Thomas, and Cecil Shorts III can be productive, throwing to Blackmon is what the Jaguars are expecting for the many seasons to come. Last week he showed promise and this week should be better for a variety of factors. While I do believe not all players are playing at high high level to minimize injury, the Giants still bolster one of the best defenses in the league because of their pass rush and secondary. The Saints have a competitive defense, but the Giants they are not. Blackmon will also start lining up across for Robinson, which will showcase what kind of talent Gabbert truly is.

That is if the Offensive line can hold it together. On Wednesday, Eugene Monroe sustained a head injury and is uncertain to play against the Saints. That leaves only guards Eben Britton and Uche Nwaneri as the only two who haven’t missed time. Although Britton did leave camp early Tuesday due to “cramps”. Center Brad Meester is being held out of some practices to prevent injury due to his age. Right tackle was Guy Whimper’s spot last year, but was Cameron Bradfield’s spot until Monroe’s injury as he may now move to the left. Also injured are backup center John Estes, and backup guards Will Rackley and Jason Spitz. There are however new linemen in the locker room this year including UDFA Mike Brewster, Drew Nowak and Daniel Baldridge who will get more playing time due to these injuries. It will be interesting to see how the line is constructed, but more interesting to see if both Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne can work with these loses.

– Antonio Furgiuele