The message was loud and clear from head coach Gus Bradley on Thursday - Blaine Gabbert would start the Jaguars' game on Saturday against the New York Jets.
This is the second game in a row that Gabbert will be behind center to start the preseason. Veteran Chad Henne will see time in the game as well with the first-team, Bradley told the media on Thursday.
Gabbert’s performance the last two days in practice help solidify his place on the roster. While he has not been named the team’s regular season starter, the idea that Henne would start game three against Philadelphia would be a sure sign there is no chance of this team moving forward.
This also means that the team will live and die by the third-year quarterback who has been maligned since coming into the league. It is a chance for a fresh start as Gabbert has been in three different offensive systems in the past three seasons.
This year, offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch is working to score more points and find a rhythm for this team, especially Gabbert who has one 300-yard game in his career.
I personally am not crazy about the move, but I have defended Gabbert most of his career because of faulty coaching and poor offensive execution. Now, the Jaguars have players in place that can move the football and a running game that should be solid. If it works out, then the team moves forward with Gabbert in 2014.
If not, the team looks to bring in a veteran (there aren’t many on the open market) and possibly seek to draft one as well.
The fact he will have Justin Blackmon to throw to this week should be a huge help.
In other news and notes from the practice field...
* Bradley confirmed that Cecil Shorts and Luke Joeckel will not play against the Jets. Shorts is still nursing a calf injury. Joeckel has a hip flexor and is being held out until next week against the Eagles.
* Maurice Jones-Drew will play against the Jets. Even if it is for a few plays, the star running back will be on the first at MetLife Stadium. The Jaguars only had Jones-Drew for six games last season because of a LisFranc injury.
* Linebacker Russell Allen is still dealing with an ankle injury and could miss Saturday night’s game. Others who will not play Saturday include Justin Forsett (toe injury), Jeremy Harris (back injury), Brandon Deaderick (groin injury) and Isaiah Stanback (quad injury).