Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert, whose rookie season was underwhelming at best, has an excuse that wasn’t previously disclosed. According to Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union, Gabbert played most of 2011 with a toe injury.
Apparently, those 15-step drops can be hard on the proximal phalanges.
If he truly had a toe injury for most of the year, the league office should, in theory, be concerned that the injury was concealed. As a practical matter, however, the league rarely, if ever, takes action when a player with an undisclosed injury misses no games due to the injury, even if the “spirit” of the rules requires the injury to be disclosed. (Hey, if the Redskins and Cowboys can have $46 million wiped off the books for violating the “spirit” of the salary cap, it’s a fair point.)
On the first day of the team’s offseason program, Gabbert said he trusts coach Mike Mularkey and G.M. Gene Smith that Gabbert will be the starter. Even if the Jaguars tried fewer than two weeks ago to trade for Tim Tebow. And even if Mularkey said newcomer Chad Henne would compete for the starting job.
Gabbert also reflected on a challenging rookie season. “Some of the criticism was pretty intense,” Gabbert said, via the Associated Press. “You’re always going to get criticized; people need something to talk about. When the coaches say I’m doing fine, I trust their opinion because that’s the only one that matters. You can’t worry about what everybody is saying about your game. You’ve just got to focus on the things that you can control and the things you can improve on.”
The good news is that, based on last year, there’s plenty of room for improvement. Gabbert finished dead last in passer rating among all quarterbacks who averaged 14 attempts per game.