|Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert is more concerned with the Vikings defense than comparisons to Christian Ponder. (Getty Images)|
Second-year QB Blaine Gabbert understands some of the comparisons to himself and Minnesota Vikings' QB Christian Ponder. Both were first-round picks in 2011. Both took over as starters for a struggling team last season. Both also had struggles of their own.
“We both started a lot of games as rookies,” Gabbert told the team's official website. “We're both definitely looking to improve. It's a new year – I'm new, I'm different.”
Ponder completed 158 of 291 passes (54.3 percent) for 1,853 yards as a rookie in Minnesota. He, like Gabbert, struggled with interceptions, throwing 13 to match his total of 13 touchdowns.
Gabbert's numbers were similar. He completed 210 of 413 passes (50.8 percent) for 2,214 yards, 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions as a rookie.
But Gabbert doesn't see Sunday being about the QB matchup.
“We trained together before the combine,” Gabbert said. “He's a good guy, I wish him the best of luck, but I'm focused on playing the Vikings – not Christian Ponder.”
“Everybody knows about the front four guys,” he said. “They want to stop the run, but overall they have a very solid defense. They're going to make us execute.”
TE shuffle continues: TE Brett Brackett, who was claimed over the weekend to be the team's third TE, was put on IR on Tuesday after suffering a season-ending knee injury.
The Jaguars re-signed TE Colin Cloherty, a fourth-year player out of Brown University, who the Jaguars waived Friday night as part of their final round of cuts. Cloherty has five career receptions for 59 yards. He has played with the Jaguars, 49ers and Colts.
Injury update: The Jaguars have several key players whose availability for the season opener on Sunday is in doubt, according to the Florida Times-Union.
The Florida Times-Union also reported that reserve DE Aaron Morgan was not at practice on Wednesday for unspecified reasons. He is the only healthy backup to starting DEs Andre Branch and Jeremy Mincey on the roster at this point.
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