Justin Blackmon, Morris Claiborne to make debuts

  • By Brian McIntyre
  • Around the League writer
  • Published: Aug. 17, 2012 at 08:22 a.m.
  • Updated: Aug. 17, 2012 at 08:43 a.m.

Two things to keep an eye on during Week 2 of the 2012 NFL preseason schedule are the debuts of Justin Blackmon and Morris Claiborne, who were picked back-to-back in the Top 10 of the 2012 draft.
Blackmon, the No. 5 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars, missed the first two weeks of training camp in a contract stalemate. Blackmon was active, but did not play, in the Jaguars' preseason opener, but has ascended to the first-team offense as the team expedites the development of a player expected to be their No. 1 receiver for seasons to come.
According to Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union, head coach Mike Mularkey expects the starters to play the entire first half tonight against the New Orleans Saints, but Blackmon could play less than that as he's still working his way into football shape.
Claiborne, the No. 6 overall pick, missed the OTAs and minicamp following wrist surgery and has been slowed by a knee injury during training camp. If Claiborne has his way, he'd play the entire game against the San Diego Chargers on Saturday night.
"I don't know. But as of now, I'm getting myself ready to play the whole game," Claiborne said of his expected playing time according to Jimmy Burch of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.
The Cowboys used Claiborne's absence to take extended looks at defensive backs, specifically Teddy Williams, in Monday night's thrilling 3-0 win over the Oakland Raiders. It would not be a surprise if Rob Ryan wanted to take a longer look at Claiborne, but as is the case with Blackmon, a cautious approach this soon after getting him back on the field might be best.