Blaine Gabbert made his case for the Jaguars' starting job on Saturday night. And then, like at least a couple others involved in QB battles this preseason, he suffered an untimely injury.
Gabbert left in the second quarter with a sprained thumb on his right (throwing) hand. Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said, per the Florida Times-Union's Ryan O'Halloran, "We’ll take a look at it but I think he’ll be OK."
While Gabbert's injury hardly seems like a severe one, it definitely could be a setback for him during the remaining weeks of the preseason, as it is the type of injury that can linger for a while. Tampa Bay quarterback Josh Freeman dealt with the same problem on his throwing hand in 2011, admitting in mid-December of that season that the injury he suffered in November was still bothering him.
If Gabbert's thumb injury turns out to be minor, and thereby one he can come back from quickly, he should still have a leg up in Jacksonville's QB race. The second-year QB was extremely sharp against the Jets, prior to taking that knock, hitting on 13-of-16 passes for 165 yards and a touchdown. Henne, by comparison, finished 4-of-10 for 30 yards and an interception.
Gabbert's showing may have constituted the first time either he or Henne created any bit of separation in the QB battle this summer. Last week, in a brutal 27-3 loss to the Dolphins, Gabbert threw for just 19 yards (and an interception on 10 passing attempts); Henne hit for 87 yards, mostly against Miami's second-team D.
The Jaguars' foe in the contest, the Jets, might have moved closer to having their own quarterback controversy decided by the ankle injury rookie Geno Smith suffered last week at Detroit. Smith had to sit out against Jacksonville, while embattled incumbent Mark Sanchez threw an early TD pass to Jeff Cumberland in his second start of the preseason. Buffalo, too, had an injury shake up its QB race. The Bills announced Saturday that E.J. Manuel had to undergo a minor procedure on his knee, which will keep him out for the rest of the preseason. That development could lock Kevin Kolb into the starting lineup come the regular season.