The were very few positives for the Jacksonville Jaguars in their preseason opener against the New England Patriots on Thursday.
New England obliterated the Jaguars 47-12 but one bright spot was the play of rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
The 10th overall draft pick out of Missouri played the entire first half against the Patriots and was impressive.
In fact, Gabbert looked like he was ready to take some meaningful snaps in the NFL.
He went 9-of-16 for 85 yards without top play makers like running back Maurice Jones-Drew and tight end Marcedes Lewis by his side. His receivers dropped four passes so his stat line would have been even more impressive if he had some help.
Gabbert displayed a live arm, had good poise in the pocket and showed that he can make any type of throw.
There were some problems, like having the ball sail too high or not making the right read quick enough, but that's something that can be improved with practice. The arm strength he exhibited can not be taught.
I originally did not think the team should push Gabbert to play early as a rookie because he didn't seem like he could carry the load, but I admit I was wrong. He is terrifically gifted and could give the Jaguars the best chance to win.
Incumbent starter David Garrard is expected back this week after nursing back injury, according to the Sporting News, so he'll get his chance to show that the offense will move better with him at the helm. Gabbert wasn't able to will the Jaguars to a touchdown last week and Garrard can take a little wind out of the rookie's sails if he leads the Jags to a couple touchdowns against the Atlanta Falcons.
Gabbert definitely has room to grow, but his potential is undeniable. Everyone, including Garrard, knows it and he'll have to fight for his roster spot to keep the talented rookie from taking his spot.
Tags: Atlanta Falcons, Blaine Gabbert, David Garrard, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Jaguars, Marcedes Lewis, Maurice-Jones Drew, NFL