Gabbert's 'swagger' impressed Jaguars from Day 1

Jaguars rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert would have you believe he's nervous heading into his first career start. His teammates, though, aren't buying it.

They have a specific first impression to back their perception.

Guard Uche Nwaneri on Wednesday recalled Gabbert's first live huddle, at New England in the preseason opener. Gabbert stared everyone in the eyes, then yelled, "Let's (expletive) go, guys," according to Nwaneri.

"He's got a good swagger about him," Nwaneri said. "He knows what the challenge is going to be. I think he'll thrive against the challenge. He was drafted high, and he's itching for an opportunity to get in and make an impact, and now he's getting an opportunity to do that."

Gabbert, who has wanted to be an NFL quarterback in the NFL since he first played football at age 11, maintains he'll be feeling a few jitters heading into Sunday's game in Carolina.

"You're always going to have butterflies," Gabbert said. "When you're doing something you love, that you care so much about and you put so much time and effort in throughout the week, you're going to have butterflies. I think something's wrong if you don't have them. That just means the adrenaline's going and you're ready to go."

Gabbert is taking over for Luke McCown, who himself took over for David Garrard when Garrard was released in the week leading up to the season opener. McCown is coming off a dismal performance in the Jags' 32-3 loss to the Jets, completing 6 of 19 passes for 59 yards against the Jets and finishing with a 1.8 quarterback rating.

"It would do me or this team zero good to sit and say I deserve another chance," McCown said. Z"I didn't perform last week and that's just the blunt fact of it. I didn't play well enough to give our team a chance to win. I'm big enough to stand up here and say that." 

Now comes Gabbet's time to prove why the Jaguars took him with the 10th overall pick in April's draft.

"He's a big, strong kid whose really been kind of a star quarterback his whole life," coach Jack Del Rio said. "We think he has a chance to be a franchise-type quarterback. He's getting a chance now to be our starting quarterback and become that guy."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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