Jacksonville coach Jack Del Rio has decided to make it an all-rookie matchup at quarterback this Sunday -- Blaine Gabbert will make his first career start for the Jaguars against Carolina and Cam Newton.
Cam was the No.1 overall pick in April's draft, of course. Gabbert was No.10. The Jaguars got such horrid quarterback play Sunday from Luke McCown in a 32-3 loss to the New York Jets that Del Rio has pulled the trigger relatively early on this move. This comes only a couple of weeks after the Jaguars' original starting quarterback, David Garrard, was surprisingly cut just days before the start of the regular season and replaced my McCown. McCown won in the opener but then threw four interceptions and was sacked for a safety against the Jets.
Gabbert, a two-year starter at Missouri, didn't have a strong preseason. Newton didn't either, of course, but has come on like wildfire since then, becoming the first NFL quarterback ever to throw for more than 400 yards in each of his first two games (however, the Panthers are 0-2).
The move is interesting, too, because Del Rio is in a far different place in his career than Panther coach Ron Rivera.
While Rivera is in his first season, joined at the hip with Newton and squarely in the middle of his honeymoon period, Del Rio is widely believed to be coaching for his future. If Jacksonville (1-1) doesn't make the playoffs this season, it's expected that the former Panther defensive coordinator won't be retained.