Jacksonville Jaguars: Jonathan Cyprien

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars wrap up the preseason in Atlanta against the Falcons tonight (7:30 p.m. ET). Here are three things to watch:

The quarterbacks: With starter Blaine Gabbert out with a hairline fracture of his right thumb, Chad Henne gets the start. But he and the rest of the team’s starters will play only 10-15 snaps. That leaves Mike Kafka and Matt Scott to play the majority of the game.

The two are battling for the No. 3 quarterback spot. Neither has been particularly impressive in the preseason. Kafka has completed 7 of 14 passes for 27 yards and one interception while Scott has completed 12 of 28 passes for 103 yards. They’ve played in every game.

The team claimed former Kansas City QB Ricky Stanzi off waivers on Tuesday, but that move appears to be more about picking his brain about the Chiefs (whom the Jaguars play in the regular-season opener) than anything else.

So it’s Scott versus Kafka for the third quarterback spot. It’s a critical competition, at least for the early part of the season. There’s some doubt that Gabbert will be ready to go in Week 1, in which case Henne would start and the Kafka/Scott winner would be the No. 2.

Jonathan Cyprien: Coach Gus Bradley has said several times this week that he wants Cyprien to get more reps against the Falcons. The second-round draft pick missed the first two weeks of training camp because of a hamstring injury.

The 6-foot, 217-pound safety is a better option in the secondary than Chris Prosinski, who was picked on by Miami in the preseason opener, including a play in which he got turned around on a touchdown pass. Cyprien seemed to be unsure of himself at times in last Saturday’s game against the Eagles and the extra playing time will certainly help.

Cyprien will be one of two rookie starters in the secondary (cornerback Dwayne Gratz is the other). They’re going to make mistakes but the best way to limit those is to get as much time on the field as possible.

The battle at WR: Justin Blackmon, Cecil Shorts, Ace Sanders and Mike Brown are set, which leaves five players competing for two spots. The top two candidates are Jordan Shipley and Tobais Palmer, with Jeremy Ebert, Toney Clemons and Charly Martin likely on the outside.

The 5-11, 178-pound Palmer is intriguing because of his speed, but he has fumbled two punts in the preseason and that may be something he can’t overcome. Shipley leads the bubble group of receivers with four catches for 48 yards. He also has value on special teams as a punt and kickoff returner, which may be enough to win him one of the final two spots.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The final preseason game is usually a pretty easy one for starters.

One series. Maybe two. But it’s rare for the starters -- or any key veteran who isn’t on the bubble -- to play more than a quarter.

That’s not going to be the case for the Jaguars, however. Coach Gus Bradley said Monday that several players who normally wouldn’t play much -- or at all -- in a final preseason game could see the field or get a larger dose of playing time on Thursday night against the Atlanta Falcons.

"We’re talking about getting an opportunity for some guys who have maybe missed due to injuries or setbacks," Bradley said. "… Some reps out there just to get their timing and get their legs back underneath them. But not a lot of playing time for them, but enough to make sure that they’re comfortable heading into next week."

Whether it’s because of injuries, competition at the position or to get playing time to help in their development, here’s a quick list of players who may see more action than anticipated on Thursday:

RT Luke Joeckel: The Jaguars’ first-round pick played against Philadelphia last Saturday after missing the previous game with a hip flexor. Joeckel suffered the injury Aug. 9 and has not gone through a full-pads practice since the injury. He’s the entrenched starter but will benefit from a little more work to knock off what Bradley said was some rustiness.

WR Cecil Shorts: A strained left calf kept Shorts out of the first two preseason games, but he did play against the Eagles, catching one pass for 20 yards. He said in the locker room that he was going to talk to Bradley and ask to get significant reps since he missed two weeks of practice after suffering his injury on Aug. 5.

SS John Cyprien: He was bothered by a hamstring injury at the beginning of training camp and missed the first preseason game. The second-round pick struggled in his debut but continues to progress in his development and could use some more playing time, Bradley said.

DT Brandon Deaderick: He sat out the first two preseason games with a groin injury. He played against the Eagles but did not record a tackle. He’s a proven veteran in the top four of the defensive tackle rotation but may see more action just to make sure he is ready for the season.

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