Jaguars vs Patriots 2011 NFL Preseason Week 1 Preview
Tom Brady usually steals the spotlight whenever the Patriots are in action, but tonight all eyes will be on Jacksonville’s rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert, the 10th pick in April’s draft, will make his NFL debut tonight when the Jaguars square off against the Pats at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Massachusetts. This evening’s preseason opener is scheduled to kickoff at 7:30p.m. ET.
David Garrard is still listed as the starter on Jacksonville’s unofficial depth chart, but for the time being, rookie signal caller Blaine Gabbert will assume that role. Garrard has been out of action the past few days with a bad back and will not play in tonight’s game.
The 6′ 5″, 230 lbs. Gabbert, who threw for 6,779 yards and 40 touchdowns as Missouri’s starting quarterback, could play as many as three quarters this evening will third stringer Luke McCown also nursing an injury.
Head Coach Jack Del Rio indicated earlier this week that Gabbert has a tremendous amount of potential, but he is still raw in a number of areas.
“He’s got a great skill set in terms of arm and size and speed, those things,” Del Rio told reporters from NECN.com. “We think he’s got a bright upside. He’s got a lot of work to do. He’s doing some things now off natural ability.”
Joining Gabbert are a host of new Jaguars as safety Dawan Landry, linebackers Paul Posluszny and Clint Sessions, and punter Matt Turk take the field for Jacksonville for the first time.
The focus of New England fans tonight will not center on Brady nor the team’s prolific offense. Instead, Bill Belichick’s revamped defense, or what is rumored to be one anyway, will garner most of the attention.
The Patriots much ballyhooed head coach is, apparently, considering a switch to a 4-3 front after last year’s unit gave up an average of 366.5 yards per game (25th).
Philosophical changes or no, New England will debut a number of new players at Gillette Stadium, including defensive lineman Albert Haynesworth, Shaun Ellis, and Mark Anderson as well as wide receiver Chad Ochocinco.