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Jaguars Name Blaine Gabbert Starter Against Panthers

-by Braden Gall (@AthlonBraden on twitter)

(AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack, File)

Jaguars' fans won’t have to wait long for the Blaine Gabbert era to begin in Jacksonville as head coach Jack Del Rio has named the rookie quarterback as the starter for the Carolina Panthers game this weekend.

The move should come as no shock after Del Rio jettisoned former starter David Garrard just days before the 2011 NFL regular season began. Veteran signal caller Luke McCown gave it an admirable try, but after four interceptions and no touchdowns in two games, the reins have been handed over to the rookie from Missouri.

McCown owns a career 2-7 starting record with nine total touchdowns and 14 interceptions in six seasons and simply does not have the talent needed to win in the NFL.

Gabbert, on the other hand, is dripping with talent. So much so that the Jags decided to select him with the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft. At 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, Gabbert has all the skill needed to swim in the deep end of the NFL pool. He has above average mobility, a strong arm and was coached by quarterback guru Gary Pinkel in college.

Thus far in his brief two-game career, Gabbert is 5-of-6 passing for 52 yards. Interestingly enough, when the Jaguars take the field on Sunday, Gabbert will be staring at another rookie quarterback under center as Cam Newton has quickly established himself as an NFL star. Newton’s 854 yards shattered an NFL rookie passing record for the first two games of a career.

The last time two rookie first-round NFL quarterbacks squared-off was 2006 when Jay Cutler and Matt Leinart went head-to-head for Arizona and Denver. Neither passer is with the team that drafted him currently.

There will be another rookie meeting when Jacksonville, should Gabbert survive, welcomes the Cincinnati Bengals to town in two weeks. Andy Dalton has proven his mettle quickly by winning his first career start and throwing for 413 yards, three touchdowns, and most importantly, no interceptions in his first two games.

If Gabbert can experience a fraction of the same success as Dalton or Newton, Del Rio will probably get to keep his job as head coach of the Jaguars.