Page last updated on Sun Mar 09 06:46:35 EDT 2014
08/12/2011 12:22 AM EDT
Gabbert inconsistent in NFL debut for Jaguars
NEW ENGLAND 47, JACKSONVILLE 12
By HOWARD ULMAN
AP Sports Writer
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. (AP) -- Ryan Mallett played solidly in his
first chance at quarterback for the New England Patriots. He may
not get another once the regular season starts.
With Tom Brady watching the entire game from the sidelines, the
third-round draft choice from Arkansas led four second-half
touchdown drives as the Patriots beat the Jacksonville Jaguars
47-12 in an exhibition opener on Thursday night.
But by the time he entered the game at the start of the second
half, the Jaguars were playing third- and fourth-string
defenders in many spots.
"I felt like I relaxed a little after the first play," Mallett
said. "It felt good just to get out there and play with the
Jaguars rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert was more highly
regarded - he was taken with the 10th pick - but had a rougher
day, although he played the first half when the Patriots used
some of their starters on defense.
"I was just excited to be playing football," Gabbert said. "It's
preseason and a lot of it you take with a grain of salt."
Gabbert completed 9 of 16 passes for 85 yards and the Jaguars
managed just three field goals on his six series. Mallett was 12
for 19 for 164 yards and threw a 16-yard touchdown pass to
another third-rounder, Stevan Ridley, who also ran for two
"Ryan did a great job," Gabbert said. "He's in the same
situation I am. I thought he executed his offense real well."
And, like Mallett, Gabbert likely will spend much of the season
on the bench, barring an injury or poor play by starter David
Garrard. He missed the game with a back problem but could return
to practice on Saturday.
"If something happens to me, like my back, we may need him to be
out there," Garrard said, but "I'm feeling better every day."
Mallett helped turn a 19-9 halftime lead into a 35-point rout.
The 47 points were the most scored by the Patriots in an
exhibition game, passing the mark set on Sept. 4, 1977 in a 45-7
win over the Washington Redskins.
Two other rookies, both running backs, had productive games for
the Patriots. Ridley from LSU ran 16 times for 64 yards and
caught seven passes for 47 yards. Richard Medlin, a rookie free
agent from Fayetteville, had two 2-yard touchdown runs.
""We really looked at a lot of young players, got them in there
and let them play. That was the goal tonight," coach Bill
Many top players played sparingly - or not at all.
Among the Patriots sitting out the game who were part of last
year's 14-2 team that lost its only playoff game were 2010 NFL
MVP Brady, receivers Wes Welker and Deion Branch and defensive
lineman Vince Wilfork. Two newcomers, wide receiver Chad
Ochocinco and defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth, also were
Besides Garrard, Jacksonville starters who didn't play were
running back Maurice Jones-Drew, defensive end Aaron Kampman,
tackle Eben Britton and cornerback Derek Cox.
The Patriots started a quarterback who wasn't drafted,
second-stringer Brian Hoyer. But he spent the past two years
with the team and his experience paid off. He completed 15 of 21
passes for 171 yards and an 11-yard touchdown pass to Taylor
Price in the first half.
Gabbert was replaced by Todd Bouman on Jacksonville's first
possession of the second half.
"I thought (Gabbert) was composed and did a good job making
decisions," Jaguars coach Jack Del Rio said. "He looked like he
belonged. It was a good beginning."
On Mallett's first series, he completed 6 of 8 passes for 79
yards, setting up Ridley's 1-yard scoring run.
The coaches, Ridley said, "want me to be a downhill runner and
that's what I'm going to continue to do."
On the next series, Mallet connected with Ridley for the
touchdown pass to cap a 67-yard drive.
On the Patriots' next possession, Mallett threw for 44 of the 80
yards and Medlin got his first touchdown. They didn't have to
work as hard for their next score after Buddy Farnham
intercepted Bouman's pass. That drive went just 31 yards with
Medlin carrying for the last 2.
Before the game, Patriots owner Robert Kraft stood on the
sidelines as players ran there after coming out of the locker
room. Wilfork hugged Kraft, whose wife Myra died of cancer at
the age of 68 on July 20.
The Patriots wore a patch with the initials MHK for Myra Hiatt
Kraft on their uniforms.
Gabbert led a decent opening drive, moving the team 57 yards in
12 plays. But after a 4-yard completion to Zach Miller for a
first down, he was sacked and threw an interception and the
Jaguars settled for Josh Scobee's 41-yard field goal.
Jacksonville failed to get a first down on the next three
series, settling for just a 40-yard field goal from Sam Swank.
In two seasons at Missouri, Gabbert threw 40 touchdowns and 18
interceptions and had an 18-8 record. The Jaguars traded with
Washington to move up six spots and draft him.
Mallett also was one of the nation's best quarterbacks, but
character issues may have caused him to slide into the third
Notes: Richard Murphy led Jacksonville's rushers with 43 yards
in 7 carries. ... Second-year Jacksonville running back Deji
Karim returned a kickoff 84 yards in the second quarter, but the
Jaguars managed just a 29-yard field goal from Scobee that cut
the Patriots lead to 13-9 early in the second quarter. ... Three
of the Patriots' nine draft picks this year didn't play - CB
Ras-I Dowling, RB Shane Vereen and OL Marcus Cannon.
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