Two of the league's hottest quarterback competitions came to a close earlier this week, and the Jacksonville Jaguars and Philadelphia Eagles will be looking to move their attention to finalizing other areas of their depth charts when they face off this Saturday from EverBank Field.
It's been an ugly preseason so far for the Jaguars, who have been outscored 64-16 in their two losses to the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets. The Eagles have split their two contests, dropping a game to the New England Patriots, 31-22, before taking down the Carolina Panthers, 14-9.
Meet the Jaguars
The Jags went just 2-13 last season, a performance partly dictated by inconsistent quarterback play. They're hoping for better play at the position this season, and have given the nod to Blaine Gabbert for 2013. You won't get to see Gabbert on Saturday, however, as he'll be shelved for the remainder of the preseason with a fractured thumb. Veteran tight end Mercedes Lewis will also be watching this one, having tweaked his calf last week.
The ability to get to the quarterback has been an issue that has plagued Jacksonville for years now, and it hasn't looked much improved thus far in the preseason. Coming off a year in which they ranked dead last in the league in sacks, the team's defensive line has been underwhelming in the first two exhibitions. Though they did record two sacks against the Jets last Saturday, both came late in the second half, and the starting line gave Mark Sanchez all the time he needed early on.
Meet the Eagles
With Michael Vick officially at the helm for the offense, first-year head coach Chip Kelly will be looking to begin implementing his offense in depth this week. Vick had several up-and-down years under And Reid, but could excel under a coach who's wide-open offensive approach was showcased during his time leading the Oregon Ducks. Certainly a key will be the play of running back LeSean McCoy, who will be doing Vick a huge service if he can balance the Eagles' attack with a strong rushing game.
The biggest position battle for the Eagles now shifts to the cornerback position. Carey Williams seems to have the No. 1 spot locked down, but Brandon Boykin and Bradley Fletcher are pushing each other for the spot opposite him. Curtis Marsh, one of the few holdovers at the position from last season, has been competing for a major role in the secondary, but a fractured hand could have him out of a job come cut time.
Local Takes: Jaguars
Though Gabbert will miss the remainder of the preseason, Alfie Crow at Big Cat Country thinks the decision to start him come Week 1 is final:
Unfortunately the team also announced that Gabbert would miss the rest of the preseason with a thumb injury on his right hand, which has already lead some discussions of doubt in Gabbert as the starter if backup Chad Henne plays well the next two games...
Nothing Chad Henne does is going to change the Jaguars decision on their starting quarterback however, and barring just utter ineptitude by Gabbert, don't expect the team to make a switch at the position this season.
Local Takes: Eagles
Vick could see a resurgence under the direction of Kelly, according to poetx over at Bleeding Green Nation:
Actually, I know Vick will play better in Kelly's offense, and the reason is simple. This will be the first time in his career, or at least since 2003 under Dan Reeves, that he has played in a balanced offense, where the running game and passing game are equally important and utilized.
Follow the Fun
Add these fine follows to your Twitter timeline:
Chip Kelly makes the right call by starting Michael Vick http://t.co/niFiKsxqIB— BleedingGreenNation (@BleedingGreen) August 20, 2013
@ryanohalloran - Jaguars beat writer
Gabbert in full pads despite injury. Splint on right hand. Not going to do any throwing or team stuff. #Jaguars— Ryan O'Halloran (@ryanohalloran) August 20, 2013
@Jeff_McLane - Eagles beat writer
Asked Davis what Brandon Boykin needed to do to supplant Bradley Fletcher outside. Sounds like he's committed to keep Boykin in slot.— Jeff McLane (@Jeff_McLane) August 21, 2013
The Eagles are favored by 3½ points in most of the major sports books, according to Oddssark.
The Jaguars head up to the Georgia Dome to take on the Atlanta Falcons, while the Eagles trip to New York to wrap up the preseason against the Jets.