August 16, 2013

NFL Notebook: Gabbert starts for Jaguars

The Associated Press

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Jaguars want and need to see more of quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

Jacquizz Rodgers, James Ihedigbo
click image to enlarge

Jacquizz Rodgers of the Atlanta Falcons rolls into the end zone Thursday night as James Ihedigbo of Baltimore goes for the ball during the Ravens’ 27-23 victory in an exhibition game.

The Associated Press

FRIDAY'S GAME

Minnesota at Buffalo, 7 p.m.

Oakland at New Orleans, 8 p.m.

San Francisco at Kansas City, 8 p.m.

Tampa Bay at New England, 8 p.m. (FOX)

Coach Gus Bradley named Gabbert the starter Thursday, two days before the Jaguars face the New York Jets in their second exhibition game.

Gabbert played the first four series in the team's opener against Miami, completing 5 of 10 passes for 19 yards. He had two passes dropped and another go off a fullback's hands for an interception.

"We feel like he needs the reps right now considering he missed six games last year at the end," Bradley said, referring to the forearm injury that ended Gabbert's 2012 season. "He got 17 snaps in the opener, and we just felt like we'd like to increase it this week and get a better chance to evaluate where he's at."

Chad Henne, who's competing with Gabbert for the starting job, also will see playing time with the first-team offense. Henne got some work with the starters against the Dolphins, completing 8 of 11 passes for 87 yards.

LIONS: Receiver Calvin Johnson didn't play in the exhibition against Cleveland because of a bruised knee.

Johnson, who had a league-leading 122 receptions for an NFL-record 1,964 yards last season, caught three passes in Detroit's exhibition opener last week against the New York Jets. The Lions didn't provide any other details about Johnson's injury. It's possible the team just wants to rest him.

BROWNS: Running back Montario Hardesty underwent arthroscopic knee surgery and likely will miss at least the first two regular-season games.

The team said Hardesty's operation "went as expected." Hardesty's football career has been slowed by knee problems. The former second-round draft pick has had the anterior cruciate ligament in both knees repaired.

Rookie linebacker Barkevious Mingo was hospitalized with a bruised lung.

COWBOYS: Guard Ron Leary was sent home for more examinations on a right knee that probably needs surgery.

Coach Jason Garrett said team didn't consider the injury serious and hoped to have Leary back at practice in "a couple of weeks."

COLTS: Safety LaRon Landry is likely to sit out Sunday's game against the New York Giants because of a knee injury.

He has missed more than a week of practice, and Coach Chuck Pagano said he won't rush Landry back for a preseason game. Pagano still expects Landry to be ready for the opener against Oakland.

DOLPHINS: Defensive end Antwan Applewhite signed with Miami after enduring an injury-plagued 2012 season with Carolina.

Applewhite appeared in 48 NFL games with San Diego (2007-10) and the Panthers (2011-12), starting 17. He was slowed by knee and hamstring injuries last year, and played in only five games.

BEARS: Defensive end Julius Peppers sat out his second straight preseason game because of a hamstring injury.

Peppers was expected to play against San Diego but the Bears held him out again after he sat out the preseason opener against Carolina. Peppers has been limited in practice for about two weeks.

SAINTS: Coach Sean Payton said veteran linebacker Jonathan Vilma traveled to Philadelphia to have arthroscopic knee surgery.

Payton didn't offer any timeline for Vilma's return, saying only Vilma is expected back and the Saints would "kind of go from there."

STEELERS: A day after moving atop the depth chart at running back, rookie Le'Veon Bell's status is in doubt for Monday night's preseason game against Washington.

Bell aggravated a left knee injury during a training camp practice. Pittsburgh's second-round pick out of Michigan State was on the ground for several minutes while being attended by trainers after going down in a pile among multiple defensive players.

THURSDAY'S GAMES

EAGLES 14, PANTHERS 9: Michael Vick and Nick Foles each led the Eagles to touchdown drives at Philadelphia.

Vick and Foles combined to put up 28 points on eight-plus drives in two games.

BROWNS 24, LIONS 6: Brandon Weeden threw two touchdown passes to Jordan Cameron and perhaps ended any more discussion about a quarterback competition, leading Cleveland at home.

RAVENS 27, FALCONS 23: Matt Ryan threw for 97 yards and a touchdown in four series, and visiting Atlanta limited Baltimore's starting offense to three first downs in the first half before the Ravens' backups pulled out a victory.

BEARS 33, CHARGERS 28: Bears quarterback Jay Cutler looked shaky again but the defense made up for it, harassing San Diego quarterback Philip Rivers early and setting the tone for Chicago at home.

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