Jacksonville Jaguars vs. New Orleans Saints: What to Watch for from the Jaguars

Matthew Little@mrMattLittleCorrespondent IAugust 17, 2012

Jacksonville Jaguars’ Justin Blackmon jogging onto the practice fields during training camp.
Jacksonville Jaguars’ Justin Blackmon jogging onto the practice fields during training camp.Rick Dole/Getty Images

On the offensive side of the ball, there are a ton of storylines to keep an eye on when the Jacksonville Jaguars travel to New Orleans to take on the Saints in the Superdome. From the receiver position to quarterback, linemen and running backs, there is a storyline at every position.

When the Jacksonville Jaguars traded up in the 2012 NFL draft to select Justin Blackmon, they intended on building on a wide receiver corps that had already been significantly improved with the free-agent acquisition of Laurent Robinson. At 8:00 ET on Friday, Jaguars fans will finally get to see their new wide receiver corps in real-time action, against the New Orleans Saints.

Blackmon has the size, strength and instincts that make him the type of receiver quarterbacks dream about. If Blackmon can get to the ball, he will make the reception.

While Blackmon may be the main focus of many, the quarterback throwing him the ball will be under scrutiny as well. After a good opening drive, last week, Gabbert slightly regressed during the Jaguars’ following possessions. He will need to show more consistency than he did last week, and with the addition of Blackmon this week, he has a better chance of that.

The offensive line is another area to keep an eye on. In the past, Eugene Monroe has shown the capability of being an elite offensive lineman in the NFL. Last week was not one of those weeks. Add a recent head injury that knocked him out of practice early on Wednesday, and it has not been the preseason Monroe was hoping to take into the season. 

Football games are won and lost on the line of scrimmage. As the offensive linemen go down, the protection for the quarterback weakens, the air attack gets shorter and more inaccurate and the offense sputters. The Jaguars have lost three linemen to an injury during this preseason, one for the year. If Monroe’s head injury becomes more severe than initially believed, the Jaguars’ offense is in trouble.

Maurice Jones-Drew will be watching a different part of the offense Friday night; the running backs. Last week, Rashad Jennings rushed for 56 yards on 12 attempts.

Now that Jones-Drew has missed all of training camp and the first two preseason games, Jennings has assumed the starting role. Jones-Drew may see his argument in his contract discussions become voided, if Jennings can continue his success against the Saints. 

If Jennings runs well, may we see Jones-Drew’s holdout end sooner than anticipated?