On a positive note Jacksonville fans, at least Tom Brady didn't play.
The Jacksonville Jaguars were gashed through the air by the New England Patriots on Thursday night and fell 47-12 in their preseason opener.
While there was no Brady suited up for New England, the numbers seemed to contradict that fact as the Patriots' quarterback combo of Brian Hoyer and rookie Ryan Mallett went a combined 27-of-40 for 335 yards and two touchdowns.
There were plenty of new faces for the Jaguars, but the same problems that kept the team out of the playoffs last year were still there and the team has a lot of work to do going forward following the embarrassing loss.
The pass rush was putrid, the wide receivers couldn’t catch a cold and the offensive line struggled in pass protection. Seems a lot like 2010 for the Jaguars.
Jacksonville got off to a good start as rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert completed his first two passes and running back Rashad Jennings rushed for 31 yards on three carries. The drive stalled though and the Jaguars had to settled on a 41-yard field goal from Josh Scobee.
Gabbert was poised throughout the entire evening. He let some passes sail and nearly threw a pick but also stepped up and made some tough throws to his wide outs.
Some of his passes were so accurate that receivers weren’t sure what was going on, as they haven’t seen consistently accurate throws come their way in some time (cough, David Garrard.) There were four dropped passes in all, one of which was by No.1 target Mike Thomas.
Gabbert still finished 9-of-16 for 85 yards in one half of play and would have had a stellar first out if his guys caught some perfectly placed passes.
Cornerback David Jones forced a fumble on the ensuing kickoff and the Jaguars recovered the ball deep in New England territory. Things were looking up but the team again had to settle for a field goal due to a blown blocking assignment.
On the next series, the Patriots had their way with the Jaguars in what would become a trend through the rest of the night. Brian Hoyer connected
with a wide-open Aaron Hernandez on the drive for 20 yards and led the Patriots down to the goal line, where rookie Stevan Ridley logged one of his three touchdowns on the evening.
Hernandez exposed linebacker Paul Posluszny on a couple of passes over the middle of the field. The free agent pickup wasn’t regarded as a top-flight pass defender but he looked lost at times in zone coverage.
Worse than drops and blown coverage was the Jaguars’ anemic pass-rush. This has been a problem for the team the past few years and it was evidently an issue on Thursday as well.
Granted starting end Aaron Kampman and tackle Terrance Knighton didn’t play, but the team will be relying on backups Jeremy Mincey and Austen Lane and neither seemed to be consistent factors as starters.
The Patriots had a lot of time to pick apart the Jaguars as a result and the contest got out of hand.
Sure, the Jaguars were missing some key players like Maurice Jones-Drew and Marcedes Lewis, but the Pats were down a few men too. Imagine what Tom Brady, Chad Johnson and Wes Welker would have done to the Jaguars’ secondary.
Tags: Blaine Gabbert, David Garrard, Jacksonville Jaguars, Josh Scobee, New England Patriots, Rashad Jennings, Tom Brady
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