Jack Del Rio made the unsurprising move of switching out Luke McCown as starting quarterback in favor of rookie Blaine Gabbert.
Del Rio essentially had to make this move in order to keep his job: If he was as stubborn as he has been in the past and kept McCown in—only for McCown to inevitably suck it up—he would be a goner.
Throughout the preseason and for the last few minutes of the Jaguars' game against the Jets, Gabbert has looked good, but not necessarily excellent. Expectations have to be tempered and realistic in this situation, as Gabbert's supporting cast essentially consists of Maurice Jones-Drew and Marcedes Lewis, who isn't even healthy at this point.
Blaine Gabbert will not be having a Cam Newton-esque performance against the Panthers,but this is a good game for Gabbert to begin his starting career.
The Panthers can't stop the run at all, and that will allow MJD to have a field day. An improved running game will alleviate a lot of pressure on Gabbert to make huge plays.
While I think Gabbert will become an extremely capable starter for the Jaguars, there are going to be some hiccups in his first season—and especially his first start.
A reasonable expectation would be that Gabbert throws for a couple hundred yards with over 55 percent completion, a touchdown or two and not more than one pick.
It is vitally important to Del Rio that Gabbert comes in and shows himself ready to be an NFL starter.