What to watch: Jaguars-Jets

August, 17, 2013
8/17/13
4:55
PM ET
Three things I’ll be paying special attention to Saturday evening when the Jacksonville Jaguars play the New York Jets at MetLife Stadium.

1. The quarterback. Blaine Gabbert was poor last week in his preseason debut, but he didn’t have a lot of help. Many of the team’s best players didn’t play. He was sacked, one of his passes was dropped, and he had accurate pass tipped and turned into an interception. But he has to help make things better, not be a victim and he has to take more command. The coaches want him to be their quarterback -- that's part of the reason he's getting a second start instead of playing behind Chad Henne. What he does in this game isn’t likely to make a giant difference in whether he's the starter or not. Every chance he has, however, he can gain something. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew and receiver Justin Blackmon are slated to play with him.

2. Speaking of Jones-Drew ... He downplayed his re-emergence and that’s not a bad approach on his part. But he has not been involved in a game since Oct. 21, 2012, when he suffered the Lisfranc injury in his left foot at Oakland. He remains the franchise’s most notable player and while receiver Cecil Shorts may turn out to challenge him as the team’s best and most productive skill player, MJD holds that slot for the time being. The scheme has changed some under new coordinator Jedd Fisch. Let’s see if the Jaguars can get some push up front and how Jones-Drew looks getting into a hole, through it and bouncing off defenders.

3. New guys on defense. I believe second-round pick Johnathan Cyprien, the safety, has a chance to be the biggest impact newcomer on defense in the division. He sat out the early weeks of camp with a hamstring issue, but started practicing on Monday and is slated to play in his first preseason game against the Jets. Let’s see how he settles in, if he carries the practice attitude we saw in the early summer into game action and what sort of bearing he can have on the rest of the secondary. Another guy to watch on defense could be president of the undrafted rookie class. With Russell Allen hurt, outside linebacker LaRoy Reynolds is expected to get a start. He’s been a playmaker in camp and can really introduce himself to the league in this opportunity.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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