There was a mix of excitement and anticipation at the annual Jaguars scrimmage at Everbank Field. 15,000+ football fans (Not all of the people in the stands were Jaguars fans, but that will be elaborated upon later) packed the stadium in order to get a glimpse of the Jacksonville Jaguars and their future star, Blaine Gabbert. That's quite a large showing for a glorified practice session in a different venue. But enough about that, let's get to the details!
Blaine Gabbert was a bit erratic during the scrimmage, going 12 of 27 for 76 yards, with one touchdown pass. Some of his passes sailed high while other passes being dropped by various receivers. One of his more memorable passes a deep throw down the seam intended for Jamar Newsome. However, it sailed a bit and Jamar could only get one hand on it as it fell incomplete . With the stunted amount of development time due to the prolonged lockout, it might take some more time to get the timing on the routes up to par.
Luke McCown was equally as erratic, but more successful, going 13 of 18 136 yards, with one passing touchdown and one interception. Some of his passes made you wonder what he was looking at. The interception was a big example since it came after he drove the ball down the field only to not see Hamlin jump the route and intercept the ball right next to the endzone. You're not going to win the starting job that way.
Montell Owens, Deji Karim, Dejuan Harris, and Richard Murphy all had impressive runs. The most impressive of which was Harris' run, in which he showed a good burst and then he powered into the endzone. I don't think it was called a touchdown, but it drew some cheers from the crowd.
Jamar Newsome, a 6-1 rookie undrafted free agent from the University of Central Florida, stood out the most in terms of the receiving corps. He made a few crowd pleasing catches, including a 15-yard screen that went into the endzone for a touchdown. He has definitely made the most of this opportunity with Cecil Shorts and Armon Binns on the standing on the sidelines due to injury. Look out for him in the preseason.
The defense in the first series looked a lot more solid as a whole, especially on the first series. The Jaguars offense was hard-pressed to get the ball moving. Whether that was because the defense got stronger in coverage or because the offense was hamstrung without many of the starters is yet to be seen.
Austen Lane was commanding double teams, which bodes well for our anemic pass rush of the past two years. Let's just hope that it translates to success in the preseason, and eventually the regular season.
Paul Posluszny made his presence immediately known by tipping a pass from Gabbert. Hopefully, this is a harbinger of things to come from the new and improved linebacking corps.
Matt Turk made some towering punts during warm-ups and punt return drills, yet they still managed to go for about 40-45 yards. With the coverage units that the Jaguars have, this could bode well in the battle for field position during the season. However, he did shank a punt off of the side of his foot, which he has become a bit infamous for.
The new addition at punter, Durant Brooks had some nice kicks as well. Some of his kicks went for 50 yards, but had a considerably shorter arc than Turk's punts.
Josh Scobee was hitting field goals about a half hour before the scrimmage started. He was kicking some balls into the stands near the Bud Zone giving a few fans a souvenir. I thought it was a pretty cool gesture.
Kevin Haslam had knee injury on the first drive and he looked like he was in serious pain. He wasn't putting much weight on the injured knee, so it didn't look good.
David Garrard, Cecil Shorts, Derek Cox, and Aaron Kampman, among others were not dressed out.
There was definitely a big push for buying season tickets, especially since there is a long way to go in order to have no blackouts.
Why were there Bears fans at a Jaguars scrimmage? It must have been a boring Saturday night. I happened to have a couple of those obnboxious Bears fans sitting a few rows behind me yelling "GO BEARS!!!!" throughout the night. If they're not careful, they might end up getting hurt.
There are no more open practices until next year, so this will be the last of the series for this year. It's time for the first week of football!
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