The biggest non-injury stories during any NFL preseason are the various quarterback battles around the league. When the Jacksonville Jaguars meet the New York Jets on Saturday, Aug. 17, there will be two of them to pay attention to. Mark Sanchez and Geno Smith are battling it out in New York, and Blaine Gabbert is trying to hold off Chad Henne in Jacksonville.
Let's take a look at both teams below:
Meet the New York Jets
The Jets looked like they were approaching respectability for a couple seasons there, but when Mark Sanchez fell flat on his face, the entire team went with him. Now they have a shiny new quarterback in rookie Geno Smith, but he's been unable to sway the coaches in the practice, plus he's dealing with an ankle injury suffered in the first game of the preseason.
It's possible that the Jets intended for Smith to start the second game to get a long look at him, but after a brutal practice on Wednesday, the Jets were discussing not even having Smith play. Sanchez should get another opportunity to show that it's his job.
Meet the Jacksonville Jaguars
Blaine Gabbert has failed to impress the Jaguars thus far, and the team brought in Chad Henne to compete to push him. Neither has looked like a sure-fire winner in practice, but both played well in the team's first preseason game. Gabbert started said preseason game and at this point, it's looking like he'll start this one as well, given that he's taken the lion's share of the first team reps in practice.
That's the biggest storyline for the Jags. There's also running back Maurice Jones-Drew, who may or may not play depending on whatever decision head coach Gus Bradley thinks is right. Jones-Drew spent much of the offseason recovering from a December injury, but has only missed on training camp practice and the team's first preseason game. He says he's good to go but it's up to Bradley.
Local Takes: Jets
I fully support holding Ivory out of preseason games even if healthy. Preseason game reps aren't THAT important. Players have won the MVP while sitting out the entire preseason. The Jets can prepare Ivory in a more controlled environment with practice reps and lower the risk of him getting hurt again and possibly missing regular season time
Local Takes: Jaguars
Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country thinks that Chad Henne should start the game for Jacksonville, provided the team is basing the decision on the first preseason game:
If the Jaguars are basing who should start against the Jets on the first preseason game, they should start Chad Henne. While Henne certainly didn't blow anyone away, he was function in the offense, no matter which set of defenders he was going against. Point blank, he executed and moved down the field.
The Jets opened up as 3-point favorites, according to OddsShark.com. The line is remaining relatively steady throughout this week, with a 2.5-point mark on some books.