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Defending a rookie quarterback

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There is a strong possibility the Jaguars defense could be facing a rookie quarterback early in the season.  Three of the club's first five opponents drafted a rookie in the first two rounds of this year's draft including AFC rival Tennessee, the Jaguars opponent on Kickoff Weekend. 

Two picks before the Jaguars, the Titans selected former Washington quarterback Jake Locker with the eighth pick.   The Jaguars travel to Carolina in week three and could possibly square off against 2011 first overall pick Cam Newton.  In week five the Jaguars host Cincinnati, who selected Andy Dalton with the third pick of the second round. 

In the 16 previous seasons, the Jaguars have never faced a rookie quarterback on Kickoff Weekend.  In 2010, the Jaguars faced only two rookie quarterbacks the entire season.  Cleveland started Colt McCoy on Nov. 21 which resulted in a 24-20 Jaguars comeback win.  Former Florida standout Tim Tebow saw limited action in the season-opener for Denver.

History of rookie quarterbacks with Jaguars

Prior to selecting Blaine Gabbert with the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Jaguars had drafted only four quarterbacks (Rob Johnson, 1995), Jonathan Quinn (1998), David Garrard (2002), Byron Leftwich (2003) in franchise history. 

Of the four previous draftees, Johnson was the only one to not start a game as a rookie.  The last rookie to start at quarterback for the Jaguars was Leftwich in 2003. 

Did you know?

There were 13 quarterbacks drafted in 2010 including three in the first round.  Six of the 13 quarterbacks started at least one game as a rookie including all three first-round picks.

Comeback wins

I thought it would be a good idea to look back at some of the more memorable comebacks in Jaguars history in terms of how many points the club trailed at a given point in the game. 

Two of the Jaguars' three largest comeback wins came in a three-week span against former AFC Central foe Baltimore.  Here's a look at the club's three largest comebacks:

15 points

The Jaguars trailed host Baltimore 25-10 in the fourth quarter on November 24, 1996 before quarterback Mark Brunell went to work. 

Brunell hit Pete Mitchell with an 11-yard touchdown pass early in the quarter to narrow the margin to eight.  After Eddie Robinson recovered a Vinny Testaverde fumble, Brunell hooked up with Willie Jackson for a seven-yard score and Brunell ran for the two-point conversion to tie the game with 1:24 remaining. 

The Jaguars won the coin toss in overtime but went three-and-out.  The Ravens moved the ball to the Jaguars 38-yard line but a Ravens fumble was recovered by Kelvin Pritchett.  Nine plays later, Mike Hollis nailed the game-winner from 34 yards. 

14 points

The Baltimore Ravens built a 17-3 halftime lead, but the host Jaguars battled back to score 27 second-half points to claim the victory.  Mark Brunell threw for 354 yards and Mike Hollis connected on all three of his field goal attempts. 

Brunell pulled the Jaguars within five, at 27-22, with an eight-yard touchdown pass to James Stewart with 3:50 remaining in the game.  Brunell's two point conversion pass to Keenan McCardell was incomplete.  The Jaguars defense buckled down and held the Ravens to a three-and-out on the ensuing possession.  Brunell directed an eight play, 66-yard drive that resulted in a one-yard bootleg score to take the lead.  He then hit McCardell with a two-point conversion pass to build a three-point margin with 41 seconds remaining. 

Clyde Simmons secured the victory when he sacked Vinnie Testaverde, forcing and recovering a fumble on the play.

14 points

Denver jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter on December 13, 1999, but the Jaguars scored 17 unanswered points to take a halftime lead.  The Jaguars eventually pulled out a 27-24 win. 

The Broncos tied the game at 24-24 with 1:43 remaining on a 57-yard pass from Brian Griese to Byron Chamberlain.  On the ensuing possession, the Jaguars moved the ball to the Broncos 27-yard line after a pass interference call.  Fred Taylor picked up 21 yards on three consecutive runs to set up a 23-yard game-winning field goal by Mike Hollis as time expired. 

Fred Taylor (9-74) and James Stewart (18-79) combined for 161 rushing yards and Jimmy Smith finished with six receptions for 92 yards and a touchdown.  The Jaguars improved to an NFL-best 12-1 with a 10-game winning streak and qualified for the playoffs for the fourth time in the team's five-year history. **

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