EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Here’s what you want from this editorial: An answer.
Here’s when you want it:
Well, sorry. Not yet. Not quite.
Who will start at quarterback in the regular-season opener? Just where does this whole thing stand?
Bradley wasn’t giving that answer yet. Not yet. Not quite.
I think we need to take a look at the film and watch all the quarterbacks and how they handled themselves,” Bradley said after a 37-13 loss to the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium Saturday.
Saturday night wasn’t the time.
But here’s what Saturday did do: It made the argument for Gabbert stronger. Much stronger. The Jaguars started Gabbert a second consecutive game Saturday, a move that surprised many and angered some fans who wanted Henne to start. But Bradley said upon making the announcement last week that he wanted to give Gabbert a chance at extensive time with the first team Saturday, a chance for significant repetitions after he had just 17 last week.
Gabbert got 30 plays against the Jets, and you know what he did? He responded.
He led a touchdown drive on the Jaguars’ first series, completed four of four passes for 71 yards as he did it. He capped the drive with a 5-yard touchdown to tight end
The next series, Gabbert was equally impressive.
The drive covered 75 yards. It took 17 plays. Gabbert completed 7 of 9 passes, with three for 37 yards going to second-year wide receiver
Blackmon can turn short passes into first downs, and he is a reliable, big target who makes a quarterback’s decisions on third downs easier. He did that once on the 75-yard drive, and kicker
Gabbert left the game after three series with a sprained thumb, though he would have left the game at that time for Henne anyway and Bradley said afterward he didn’t believe the injury was serious.
Henne, who outperformed Gabbert statistically last week, played the rest of the second quarter and into the third.
And this time, he did not outperform Gabbert.
He completed 4 of 10 passes for 30 yards and the interception he threw to linebacker Danny Lansanah helped the Jets turn a three-point deficit into a 27-13 lead.
When will Bradley make a decision?
The sense here is may come sooner, rather than later. Maybe this week – yes, before preseason Week 3. That’s a guess, but the timing would make sense, with Week 3 being a dress rehearsal in which the starting unit will play into the second half.
If there’s a chance in the preseason for a starting unit to get timing together, Week 3 is it. But that is a question for the coming days, and for Saturday night, there were more storylines than simply the quarterback issue that has dominated Jaguars media the last few weeks.
There was the 2013 debut of running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who rushed for nine yards on three carries, and who looked close to regular-season ready before leaving after one series.
And there was the 2013 debut, too, of Blackmon, who didn’t start but who showed what coaches wanted to see. And there was the NFL debut of
Unacceptable, too, were 12 penalties for 100 yards.
But really, what happened after the second quarter wasn’t the story for the Jaguars Saturday. The second half of preseason games usually aren’t the story.
The story was the first three series, and the story was a first-team offense – and a quarterback – that looked very good. And they did so missing three starters, wide receiver
What did it mean? That remains to be seen, but did it make the argument for Gabbert a little stronger? No question. What it didn’t mean was that a decision was made.
Not yet. Not quite.