As expected, the Jacksonville Jaguars will roll with Blaine Gabbert over Chad Henne as their starting quarterback — at least that’s the case for the moment.
“I think that he's really shown a lot of poise,” head coach Gus Bradley said Thursday via ESPN. “I think he handles situations that have been presented to him in practice. They both have done some really good things. Both have made some really good progress. Now, are they there yet? No, and I hope they would both answer it the same way. We just felt like with Blaine, with what he's done the last couple days in practice and how he's responded, we decided to give him the nod.”
It’s no surprise to see the Jaguars picking Gabbert over Henne. While Henne may actually give them their best chance at winning some games this year, he’s also regarded as having a very low ceiling relative to Gabbert. If, and that’s a big “if,” Gabbert can grow, he has the potential to become a solid franchise quarterback.
It’s also important to remember that Friday’s game is essentially the first real-world tryout for both Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne with their new coaches. If Gabbert impresses, as he did in the preseason last year, expect him to easily hold off Henne. If, on the other hand, Gabbert struggles and Henne is successful, expect Henne to get at least one preseason start.
Also notable in Gus Bradley’s remarks was his mention of running back Maurice Jones-Drew.
“We just feel like he's making good progress but still has to work on conditioning,” Bradley said. “He's going in the right direction, but we felt that was needed for his recovery and his continued progress. And we want to be smart with him and not force anything. But we're pleased with where he's at right now and excited about it, and it's good.”
While it’s no surprise that Jones-Drew will be missing considerable preseason action, it’s good news for the Jaguars that their best offensive player is on track to be ready to go for week one of the regular season.