There are those that show up and do ok, then there are those who make you pay attention to them. Your eyes are drawn to them when they are on the field and when they make plays your surprise slowly turns to satisfaction, excitement, and expectation. In the preseason all players are trying to surprise or prove to the coaching staff what can be expected of them. Those players are the ones who are on the rise.
Who are they?
Blaine Gabbert, QB – 13/16 for 112 yards and two touchdowns….Henne who?
Justin Blackmon, WR – We all expected a slow start for Blackmon. I’ll take a fast one instead though. Four catches for 48 yards (a lot after outmuscling tacklers), and a touchdown are more than enough to keep the eyes on him for the time being.
The Replacement O-Line – Turns out the depth is far better than I thought. In Gene we trust, right? Seriously these guys came together to be much better than the sum of their parts and protected Gabbert (err…gave him just enough time to throw) well enough to make the signal caller look like the pro he most certainly will be. Oh they run blocked really well too.
Chris Prosinski, S – I don’t know if you guys noticed it, but when the Saints were eating up yards against the Jags’ second and third stringers, the man who almost always ended up around the ball was Prosinski. He isn’t doing well enough to start, but he’s proving the high motor he was drafted for runs just fine.
Jeremy Mincey, DE – Eight sacks a year ago isn’t much, but it led the team. I fully expect more now. He was on the quarterback in a flash, outmuscling anybody in front of him. The guy is going to be a handful against offensive linemen. His effort really blew me away.
Colin Cloherty, TE – You know Zach Miller and Zach Potter? Those two guys who have been with the Jags for a bit but tend to have injuries/can’t make their game complete? Their seats just got a whole lot hotter with Cloherty taking three passes (one for a touchdown) and making it all look too easy.
There are more people who did well in this game (a lot more than did poorly), but I think these guys’ stock is really on the rise. Some, like Mincey, Blackmon, and Gabbert, can’t go any higher on the depth chart but they will be the people dragging the Jags up from 31 of 32 on the AP rankings.