Three things to watch for in Jacksonville's preseason opener in New England Thursday night. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Blaine Gabbert makes his debut in an NFL game setting, getting the start with David Garrard (back) out. But the rookie quarterback will be without Maurice Jones-Drew and rookie receiver Cecil Shorts who’s been working as the No. 3 wideout. Marcedes Lewis, who missed the early part of camp in a holdout, is unlikely to play. The Jaguars are hardly loaded with weapons with those guys. Without them, Gabbert will be challenged to find people to make plays for him.
Jason Hill is the No. 2 receiver but he’s hardly been heard from. Given the weapons shortage, this would be a good time for him to show up and be noticed. While he’s got plenty of time, he could soothe some nerves with some production.
The new-look defense will be on display and we’ll get our first look at Clint Session, Paul Posluszny and Dawan Landry on the field together. I expect a big hit or two out of them before they turn things over to the second team.