Thursday, August 11, 2011
In first action, Gabbert gets little help
By Paul Kuharsky
Welcome to David Garrard’s world, Blaine Gabbert.
Jacksonville’s rookie quarterback started in New England on Thursday night.
He made some good and quick decisions. But he was ultimately undone by rookie inexperience and, in part, by the same things that often helped undo the veteran he is expected to sit behind. Gabbert’s protection broke down and allowed three sacks and his targets -- including Mike Thomas, Tiquan Underwood and Zach Miller -- dropped passes.
The Patriots beat the Jaguars 47-12 in the preseason opener for both teams as Gabbert played the first half, completing 9 of 16 passes for 85 yards.
New England defensive back Patrick Chung also got in on the drop action, sparing Gabbert an interception on a poorly thrown ball behind and over Jarett Dillard in the second quarter.
At least one other problem from last season resurfaced, poor tackling by cornerbacks. Second-string corner David Jones flailed on a couple tackles in key spots and rookie Rod Issac had a bad miss early in the third quarter. Another corner, undrafted rookie Terrence Wheatley, got lost in coverage a couple times before intermission.
Gabbert was the most significant Jaguars' story, though. When he left the game it was 19-9. The Patriots poured it on from there.
He showed composure considering it was his first action in an NFL game setting, playing with first-stringers (minus some key guys) against a team that sat a large share of front-liners. He also held the ball too long at times and made some bad throws that had nothing to do with protection or the hands of his targets.
All in all, it was the sort of outing you’d expect.
It’s likely his work comes later next week against Atlanta, presuming Garrard’s back is better.