The Jaguars are hurting. Really hurting.
The full extent of that hurt isn’t immediately known, but what is known is they won’t be at full strength when they visit one of the NFL’s most-historic venues this weekend.
What’s not as certain, despite national reports regarding his shoulder injury, is the status of quarterback
Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey said Monday Gabbert has a chance to play Sunday when the Jaguars visit the Green Bay Packers, and Mularkey said there’s even a chance Gabbert can take his normal repetitions in practice. There has been nothing official to dispute that.
As for Jones-Drew, he sustained a foot injury on the first play against Oakland. Despite several attempts to retape the area, he could not return. Mularkey on Monday said Jones-Drew will not play against Green Bay, and said while it’s possible he could miss extended time there is not yet a timetable on his return.
Injuries will be a theme through the week, with Gabbert’s status likely a daily storyline, and the absence of Jones-Drew makes an already daunting task Sunday even more so.
The Packers are good. Really good. They won the Super Bowl following the 2010 season, went 15-1 last season and though they are just 4-3 this season, they have played well in recent weeks. An argument also can be made they should be 5-2, having lost to the Seattle Seahawks in the well-chronicled game that ended with a controversial call on a Seattle touchdown in the end zone. The Packers have struggled to run this season, but while they are ranked just 10th in the NFL in passing, quarterback Aaron Rodgers is one of the NFL’s top quarterbacks and has thrown 19 touchdown passes with just four interceptions. While the Packers remain a favorite to contend for the Super Bowl, they have a relatively small margin for error, being a game and a half behind the Chicago Bears and a half game behind Minnesota in the NFC North.
The game at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wis., will be broadcast regionally on CBS and locally on WETV CBS 47 (Channel 6) with Greg Gumbel on play-by-play and Dan Dierdorf on analysis.
Early matchup to watch
Aaron Rodgers versus Jaguars secondary. This is a little broader than most of our matchups, but stopping Rodgers – or at least slowing him down – is a lot more than just one player. He is capable of throwing multiple touchdowns in rapid-fire succession, and is among the NFL’s hardest quarterbacks to intercept. The defenses that have had success against Green Bay have been effective rushing and pressuring Rodgers. The Seahawks sacked him eight times in a 14-12 Seattle victory, and while that loss was controversial, Seattle was as effective against the Packers’ offense as any team has been this season. The Jaguars struggled to rush the passer in the first five games of the season, but with the line closer to full health, they registered two sacks and 12 hits on Raiders quarterback Carson Palmer last week. The Jaguars will need to approach that sort of pass rush against Rodgers.
Player to watch
What to watch
*The Jaguars’ defensive line was as healthy last week as it has been all season, and the unit responded with perhaps its best game of the season. With added depth, the pass rush improved, and defensive tackle