Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert pulls grass from his facemask after… (Don Wright / Associated…)
If the Jacksonville Jaguars end up being the team that lands in Los Angeles, at least they're purging their system of losses 3,000 miles away now, and mostly out of sight.
That changes Monday night, when the 1-5 Jaguars draw a national television audience for a home game at EverBank Field against the AFC North-leading Baltimore Ravens (4-1).
"If it were horseshoes or hand grenades, we'd be all right," Jaguars Coach and former USC linebacker Jack Del Rio told reporters.
The grenade could instead land at Del Rio's feet after this.
The Jaguars are immediately spending their first-round investment of quarterback Blaine Gabbert, whose rookie status in big moments has been exposed as the team's losing streak has grown to five.
It won't get any easier against the Ravens, eight-point favorites in Nevada sports books based on their defensive experience that creates an obvious mismatch even if Baltimore Coach John Harbaugh praises the young quarterback.
"If you watch [Gabbert], he's got all the skills, can make all the throws. He is a big, strong guy. When he gets out of the pocket he's really a problem," Harbaugh told reporters.
Jacksonville, however, blew a lead at the two-minute warning against Cincinnati two weeks ago, then came within a batted-down Hail Mary of beating Pittsburgh last week – a loss that raised questions for Del Rio after he capped an earlier fourth-quarter drive by kicking a field goal rather than driving for a touchdown.
"We've had our opportunities and our moments," Del Rio said. "We just haven't made enough plays."