Each week, I contact the editor of the FanSided team blog the Ravens are playing that Week. This week I wrote five questions to Luke Sims, editor of the Jaguars blog Black&Teal. Read what he has to say about the game and more.
1. What’s the latest on the Maurice Jones-Drew contract situation? Do you think he’ll be traded at some point?
After asking to be traded, MJD went back and said he would be open to healing the fractured relationship he has with the front office. I sincerely doubt the Jags trade MJD, unless there is someone desperate enough to make a trade for him like the Raiders did for Carson Palmer. The odds favor him coming back, but if he doesn’t I bet owner Shahid Khan sits on him and lets him rot out his best playing days before the end of his career.
2. How do you think Blaine Gabbert will do this season, now that he has one under his belt?
If the first two preseason games are any indication then he’ll be much better than I thought he would be. The idea coming out of camp was that he made small baby steps and we were simply praying for a quarterback that was average. But now that he has gone 18/26 for 174 yards and three touchdowns (no picks) there are higher expectations for him. I think he’s learned a lot about being an NFL quarterback after not being an NFL quarterback last season. All aboard the Blaine Train!
3. Any players we should keep an eye out for?
Watch Gabbert, the Ravens D is the best he’s faced so far. Keith Toston is out with a hamstring injury, look for Richard Murphy, DuJuan Harris, or Jalen Parmele to try and secure a roster spot as the third running back. Chastin West, Brian Robiskie, and Cecil Shorts III should establish the order for the lower wide receiver spots with their play. Also, Rashean Mathis is getting his first action since tearing his ACL last year so that will be interesting to watch since he’s on a one-year contract and fighting for his starting corner spot for the first time since he was drafted nine seasons ago.
4. How are the rookies performing thus far?
The top three rookies (WR Justin Blackmon, DE Andre Branch, P Bryan Anger) have been superb thus far. Branch is much better at run stopping than anticipated and has some much needed speed off the edge. Anger (punters are people too!) has some really good hangtime and has helped limit returns by the opponent thus far, we expect more of the same. Blackmon took the field for the first time last week and led the team with four receptions for 48 yards and a touchdown. He plays physically and fights for yards. Hasn’t disappointed at all.
5. What will make this a successful game for the Jaguars, other than winning and coming out injury-free?
Injury free was the primary concern. The o-line is depleted due to injury and it’s amazing that the offense has had any success with the position switch-ups (including a defensive lineman playing guard) and starters not being able to be in at all. Gabbert needs to show he can continue to improve. If he stays at around 70% complete and over 120 yards I think that’s a win for a franchise that could use some positives. Also, getting to the quarterback a couple more times with the front four would be really good, especially if it comes from a defensive end.