Jags insert Blaine Gabbert in 4th
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- After benching starter Luke McCown for Blaine Gabbert on Sunday, Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio was noncommittal about naming a starting quarterback for next Sunday's game against the Carolina Panthers.
Gabbert, the Jaguars' first-round pick out of Missouri made his NFL debut in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 32-3 blowout loss to the New York Jets. The 21 year old finished 5-for-6 passing for 52 yards and also ran once for a yard after replacing the highly-ineffective McCown, who threw four interceptions.
"I'm gonna be ready. There's no question about that," Gabbert said.
Gabbert entered the game with 13:55 remaining, and completed his first NFL pass to running back Maurice Jones-Drew for 11 yards with 12:41 left.
"I felt comfortable when I got out there," Gabbert said. "We knew what they were doing the whole time, it's just a matter of execution and not turning the ball over."
Del Rio said that the Jaguars decided to give Gabbert an opportunity to get his feet wet after McCown was picked off for the fourth time.
"I guess the immediate next question is what are you gonna do going forward, and my answer is that we'll discuss that as a staff," Del Rio said. "What I can tell you now is that I made the decision in this ballgame to let Blaine play and get some experience, and we'll go from there. ... We're gonna do the things that make sense for us to win on Sunday."
Aside from throwing four interceptions, McCown was 6 for 19 passing and finished with a 1.8 passer rating.
"It was one of those deals where it was nothing they were doing, I was just off today," said McCown, who was picked off twice by cornerback Antonio Cromartie and once each by safety Eric Smith and reserve linebacker Josh Mauga. "That's all me and I will get better. It's been a long time. Obviously, you would like not to have days like this but they happen. I'm not the first guy that's had a day like this and I am probably not the last. I have to be better."
The Jaguars' matchup with the Panthers in Week 3 could be one that features Gabbert, the No. 10 overall pick, going up against the No. 1 overall pick, Cam Newton.
I wish Luke [McCown] was 30 for 30 with 500 yards and a bunch of touchdowns and we would have won the game.” -- Blaine Gabbert
on the relationship between Jags QBs
"That hasn't even crossed my mind one bit," Gabbert said.
Gabbert said he supports whatever decision the Jaguars make, and isn't politicking for the starting job.
"Quarterbacks stick together," Gabbert said. "We're in the same meetings every day. That's how I am as a person, and that's how Luke is. I have his back 110 percent."
Gabbert said he and McCown have a "legitimate, good relationship."
"I wish Luke was 30 for 30 with 500 yards and a bunch of touchdowns and we would have won the game," Gabbert said. "That didn't happen today, but like I said, we need to learn from our mistakes and get better as a whole."
Veteran David Garrard was expected to open the season under center for Jacksonville, but the 33-year-old, who had started 58 of the last 64 games for the team going into the 2011 campaign, was cut before Week 1.
The 33-year-old McCown, thrust into the starter's role, was 17 for 24 for 175 yards in Jacksonville's 16-14 victory over Tennessee in its season opener.
Prior to the 2011 season, McCown hadn't started an NFL game in four years. He is 2-7 in his career as a starter in the NFL.
Mike Mazzeo is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com.