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Blaine Gabbert vs. Cam Newton: Rookie QBs will battle Sunday

September 21, 2011 | 10:42 am

Blaine Gabbert, rookie quarterback for Jacksonville, will get his first NFL start Sunday. Clearly the main reason for this move by the Jaguars was the poor play of former starter Luke McCown, who threw four picks against the New York Jets on Sunday.

But it's tough not to think that it may have been at least slightly influenced by the play of the quarterback Gabbert will be facing Sunday -- Carolina Panthers rookie Cam Newton, whose 854 yards passing are the most ever in the first two games of an NFL career.

Jacksonville Coach Jack Del Rio, who named Gabbert the starter on Wednesday, had initially planned to give the former Missouri standout some time to learn behind quarterback David Garrard. But Garrard was cut days before the start of the season and was replaced by career backup McCown.

Any remaining plans to take it slow with Gabbert were changed after McCown completed only 6 of 19 passes for 59 yards, in addition to all those interceptions, Sunday -- the same day Newton was making recently drafted quarterbacks looking pretty good with his rookie-record 432 yards.

Newton was drafted No. 1 overall, nine spots higher than Gabbert. We'll find out Sunday which one of them gets an NFL victory first.


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Photo: Blaine Gabbert. Credit: Jim Rogash / Getty Images