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Gabbert inconsistent in preseason start for Jaguars

Thursday, August 11, 2011 | 11:18 p.m. CDT; updated 12:29 a.m. CDT, Friday, August 12, 2011
Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert ducks under the arm of New England Patriots linebacker Jermaine Cunningham during the first quarter of Thursday's preseason game in Foxborough, Mass.

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — Blaine Gabbert had an inconsistent NFL debut and his Jacksonville Jaguars teammates didn't do any better in a 47-12 loss to the New England Patriots in the exhibition opener for both teams Thursday night.

Playing against mostly backups as top players for both teams sat out the game, the Jaguars settled for three field goals on Gabbert's six possessions. The 10th pick of the draft from Missouri completed 9 of 16 passes for 85 yards. He played the entire first half with starting quarterback David Garrard unavailable because of a back injury.

"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."

Another rookie quarterback, third-rounder Ryan Mallett of the Patriots, did better.

The former Arkansas standout played the whole second half and drove the Patriots to touchdowns on his first four series, helping turn a 19-9 halftime lead into a 35-point rout.

"Ryan did a great job," Gabbert said. "He's in the same situation I am. I thought he executed his offense real well."

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.

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."

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 round.

The Patriots started a quarterback who wasn't drafted, Brian Hoyer. But he spent the past two years with the Patriots 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.

Mallett completed 12 of 19 passes for 164 yards and one touchdown and played with poise, although he faced few, if any, first-string defenders.

On his first series, he completed 6 of 8 passes for 79 yards, setting up rookie running back Stevan Ridley's 1-yard scoring run. Then he connected with Ridley for a 16-yard 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.


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