The Jacksonville Jaguars hit the practice field equipped only with helmets on Thursday to finish getting ready for their preseason game against the New York Jets. Some key players didn’t practice and are likely going to be held out of the game on Saturday.
The “big story” of the day was who would get the starting nod at quarterback against the Jets. Blaine Gabbert came out with the ones right away like he has over the last few practices.
It was all but official by the time practice got underway that Gabbert is going to start the game on Saturday. If he manages to be anything better than terrible he’ll likely start the third preseason game and lock down the job for the start of the regular season.
There were a few highlights reported from practice, starting with linebacker LaRoy Reynolds who supposedly has been lights out in camp. He’s going to get the start in place of the injured Russell Allen this week so we’ll see what he can do in live action.
Justin Blackmon continues to impress in his return from groin surgery. He’ll get some time on the field Saturday but he’ll probably get yanked after a few plays to be careful. Maurice Jones-Drew has also flashed in camp and will finally get on the field against the Jets.
The official announcement of Gabbert’s anointment came after practice ended. Head Coach Gus Bradley is trying to emphasize that this does not signal the end of the competition, but unless Gabbert is an abject disaster out there we won’t see a change in the depth chart.
Gabbert will be without Cecil Shorts III, but he’ll have Justin Blackmon and Maurice Jones-Drew at his disposal. Unlike last week, Gabbert will have a majority of the projected starting lineup around him on Saturday so he should perform better. Expectations are low, especially against a pretty good Jets defense, but Gabbert needs to put some separation between Chad Henne and himself.
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– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89