Blaine Gabbert will not play this weekend for the Jacksonville Jaguars due to a laceration on his hand when the lowly Jaguars head to the Black Hole for the Raiders season opener.
Jacksonville wasted no time in playing mind games with Dennis Allen ahead of Sunday’s match up. Unlike the Raiders, who didn’t officially name their starting quarterback until he stepped onto the field for the first drive of the season, the Jaguars aren’t hiding anything. Which likely points to Gabbert’s laceration on his hand being pretty serious.
Chad Henne will start instead for the Jags. Henne is 1-1 vs the Raiders in his up and down NFL career, putting up 26-50 completed passes for 378 yards and two touchdowns.
In last year’s Jaguars-Raiders clash Henne had his problems replacing Gabbert in the second half after the young quarterback injured his shoulder. In about one half and change worth of work he completed just nine of his 20 passes for 73 yards as Oakland won in overtime with Carson Palmer at quarterback.
This year Henne will go up against the emerging Terrelle Pryor in Sunday’s quarterback match up. A Henne-Pryor duel seemed unlikely at the start of the preseason with both teams having other favorites for the Week One starters job in Gabbert and Matt Flynn, but the Henne scenario is likely the better option for the Jags as Gabbert (and his teammates) looked awful on Sunday.
Raiders offensive line coach Tony Sparano will have the playbook on Henne as the former Miami Dolphins head coach was calling the shots during his most successful pro season. The now veteran quarterback is always serviceable and is likely the better of the two quarterbacks compared to Gabbert, who earned the job for his upside. Still the Jaguars offense scored just two points at home to the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday, so don’t expect that much of a turnaround under Henne.
Oakland are still only -5.5 point favorites on the early offshore line. With the quarterback change and the Raiders strong play against a ten times strong Indianapolis Colts team on the road, expect Terrelle Pryor to cover that number as this might be one of the few times in 2013 we see the Silver and Black lay a good old fashioned beatdown at the Coliseum.