Don’t be surprised to see Blaine Gabbert under center for the Jaguars some time during Sunday’s game against the Jets in New York. Indeed, the release of four-year starter David Garrard had far more to do with getting the rookie quarterback on the field than thinking veteran Luke McCown would suddenly emerge as something other than a career backup.

Kudos to the Jaguars for their season-opening victory against Tennessee, but if the Jaguars are going to make a run to the playoffs they’ll have to play a more wide open game than they did against the Titans. Their conservative game plan against the Titans isn’t a knock against offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter. It was a statement that McCown isn’t the answer to becoming an effective passing team. Playing an outstanding defensive game can produce a victory against the Titans, but don’t expect it to work against a team as talented as the Jets.

Regardless of who plays quarterback, confidence shouldn’t be a problem for the Jaguars against the Jets. The franchise is 6-2 all time against the Jets. Coach Jack Del Rio is 3-1. The Jaguars won the last meeting, also in New York, when they won 24-22.

That’s the game where Maurice Jones-Drew wisely took a knee at the 1-yard line when he could have easily scored a touchdown. MJD’s heads up play step up a chipshot field goal by Josh Scobee as time expired. Even veteran cornerback Rashean Mathis, who was horrible in the opening victory, should have fond memories. He intercepted then-rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez’s first pass of the game.

Meanwhile, some observers are suggesting the Jets could be in for a letdown after their come-from-behind victory against the Cowboys on the 10th anniversary of 9/11, played in what would have been in the shadows of the Twin Towers.

The experts aren’t buying either theory. They have the Jets favored by as much as 10 points. Obviously, they doubt the Jaguars defense, particularly against the run, is as good as it appeared to be against the Titans.

Certainly it is a daunting task for the Jaguars to stop the Jets’ stellar group of receivers, led by Santonio Holmes. So what must the Jaguars do to beat the Jets again? Putting pressure on Sanchez, who has struggled under pressure, likely will be the key. The Jaguars did keep the pressure of Titan QB Matt Hasselbeck. In addition to sacks by Matt Roth and Brent Coleman, tackle Tyson Alualu had had three QB pressures and end Jeremy Mincey had four.

But even with a solid defensive performance, the Jaguars will have to score more than 16 points. They’ll start with McCown and may even let him throw more, but I’ve got to think they’ll have Gabbert ready to go. Admittedly, throwing in a rookie quarterback against the Jets – can’t you see all-world cornerback Darrelle Revis chopping at the bit thinking about such a scenario? – isn’t ideal, but the Jaguars need to find out as early as possible if they have the makings of a franchise quarterback.

Del Rio’s job literally is at stake. And think how it will energize a lethargic fan base.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? It could be the start of something grand, but not this week. Jets win 28-17.


  1. How do you spell relief? 0:00 Game Over!

    Maybe they let Luke McCown throw too much? Can an NFL team succeed with only one wide-receiver, a # 2 receiver, at best? Your only scoring offense is a 50+ yard field goal?

    On the positive side, for another week, the Jaguars save 8 million dollars pay by releasing David Garrard (whose worst day was not as bad as McCown’s passer rating). Pinch those pennies! Blaine Gabbert did fine in the 4th. quarter (with the dogs called off for the day). The defense only gave up 32 points; not entirely their fault, but could have given up more too. Season isn’t over. The Carolina Panthers and rookie stud Cam Newton is up next. You can still say “paper” at the grocery store, then next home game, hide your shame from fellow fans. The next home game should be blacked out. (If rquested locally, can the NFL blackout rode games too?)

    ;-( In other words David Lamm, it’s a long season, is there hope the Jaguars will do something, to keep us from turning to Prozac to relieve our depression over the Jaguars?

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