I had the opportunity to ask Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country five questions about the final preseason game. You'll find them below.
Dave Choate: Blaine Gabbert's the starter, we hear. What are your expectations for him in 2013, and do you think that was the right choice at QB for the Jags?
Alfie Crow: I think Blaine Gabbert was really the only smart choice for the Jaguars. The reality is, you know what Chad Henne is, and that's mediocre at best. Henne wasn't able to separate himself at all from Gabbert in camp or the preseason, so naturally you go with the younger guy with better physical talent. As far as what to expect from Gabbert... if he can be a serviceable quarterback, I think that's a big win for the Jaguars.
DC: The Jaguars have some intriguing young pieces. Where do you reasonably expect the offense and defense to rank this year, and who are a couple of players we should keep an eye on?
AF: I think the offense is going to be better than most people expect, at least overall, so I would guess they rank in the top half of the league. The defense on the other hand is a big questions since they struggle rushing the passer and are changing to a whole new defensive scheme, so I'll say if they're in the Top 20 that's a win for the team.
DC: Will Maurice Jones-Drew continue to be the focal point of the offense? Are there any lingering questions about his health?
AF: There are no questions about Jones-Drew's health going forward. He's had an excellent camp and has showed some of that burst of his during the preseason catching out of the backfield. He's still going to get the lion's share of carries and he should be featured more catching the ball out of the backfield than in season's past.
DC: What are your impressions of Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley thus far? Are they upgrades over Gene Smith and Mike Mularkey, or is it too early to say?
AF: I don't think any Jaguars fan will tell you that even in the short time they've been here, Gus Bradley and Dave Caldwell are significant upgrades over Gene Smith and Mike Mularkey. You could tell the players didn't mesh with Mularkey at all and they seem to love playing under Bradley thus far, even if it's just the honeymoon phase. That phase didn't exist last year. Not only that, but Caldwell and Bradley work together in building the roster, where as in the past it was basically just Gene Smith doing what he wanted without much input from the head coach on what was needed.
DC: Final record for the season, and likely direction for next year's draft?
AF: I think the Jaguars wind up in the 5-11 range, as they were close to that last year with some overtime games and such. I have no illusions that it's going to be a magically good football team, but I think they'll be more competitive than they were last year. Unless the light suddenly turns on for Blaine Gabbert, I think this team is looking at the quarterbacks at the top of the 2014 NFL Draft.
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- Falcons vs. Jaguars Preseason 2013: Game Time, TV Schedule and Online Streaming
- Falcons "Hope" Roddy White Will Be Ready for Week One