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Mike Mularkey: Blaine Gabbert is our starter, we feel good about him

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It would be easy for Mike Mularkey, as a new head coach inheriting a returning starter at quarterback who looked lousy last year, to be skeptical of his quarterback’s ability to lead the team. But in Jacksonville, where Blaine Gabbert is returning as the starter in a new offense, Mularkey insists he’s confident in what he has.

According to Mularkey, Chad Henne was signed strictly as a backup and does not have the opportunity to earn the starting job in training camp. Instead, Mularkey told Albert Breer of NFL Network, the job belongs to Gabbert, period.

No, it’s not [a competition]. Blaine’s our starting quarterback,” Mularkey said.

Gabbert struggled as a rookie starter last season, completing just 50.8 percent of his passes and having a 65.4 passer rating while getting sacked 40 times. He was widely criticized as a first-year failure, but Mularkey says Gabbert responded well to those criticisms.

“I give him credit for handling the negativity — I haven’t seen it affect him,” Mularkey said. “It’d be easy to go into a shell, worry about perception. He has a lot of confidence and he doesn’t let outside sources influence that. That’s hard to do in this business, especially now with all this Facebook and Twitter. There’s so much more pressure on him, but he’s been good. I’m a big body-language reader, and on the practice field, the cafeteria, in the meetings, he has a confidence about him. We feel good about him.”

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22 Responses to “Mike Mularkey: Blaine Gabbert is our starter, we feel good about him”
  1. mianfr says: May 14, 2012 5:34 PM

    Is he aware that Blaine Gabbert was so bad he made Chad Henne look competent? What’s the angle here? Lower people’s expectations and then put Henne in later so they can rally to a 5-11 finish?

  2. heygfy says: May 14, 2012 5:44 PM

    Blaine Gabbert should get on his knees every night and thank God Mel Kiper needed another QB to hype up last year before the draft, and that the Jaguars were dumb enough to bite.

  3. wideright91 says: May 14, 2012 5:56 PM

    I remember when he said the same thing about JP Losman

  4. specialteamsposter says: May 14, 2012 6:07 PM

    We all know the Jags’ QB situation is a mess and won’t be fixed anytime soon. It’s the case of a bad, young QB or an established, less-than-mediocre QB. Mularkey has no choice but the play the young guy. If the Jags are going to win games this year, it won’t be because of anything either QB does.

  5. jlana24 says: May 14, 2012 6:14 PM

    Let’s see here:

    - Gabbert coming out of a spread system, gets no offseason
    - Is supposed to sit for a year behind Garrard, Garrard released, and is thrown into the fire after Luke McCown implodes
    - His starting receivers throughout the year are Mike Thomas, Jason Hill, Jared Dillard, Chastin West, and Cecil Shorts – CFL level receivers
    - Plays for a head coach that’s checked out and shows up at 9am with a bunch of lame duck assistant coaches on one year contracts
    - His QB coach has never coached QB’s before
    - Has Guy “turnstile” Wimper starting at RT after injuries

    So he played badly and has footwork issues to work on. You have to give the guy a pass for last year, especially if you believe he’s a Top 10 QB.

    He’ll have some help this year and we’ll get to see what he’s made of. Let’s put away the pitchforks until at least December.

  6. thegreatgabbert says: May 14, 2012 6:21 PM

    Gabbert’s season was average for a rookie starter from a statistical perspective. As Mularkey mentioned in the article, he was two years younger than Matt Ryan coming out of college. Lots of room to grow.

  7. chazzmichaelmichaels says: May 14, 2012 6:25 PM

    Love how every QB is deemed a success or failure after their rookie season. Not saying he’s a hall of fame caliber QB but don’t some of these guys deserve a chance to learn, develop? They’re like 22 yr old, hell, I’d just learned to tie my shoes that year.

  8. gregony says: May 14, 2012 6:46 PM

    Lets look at another famous NFL high round draft pick’s rookie stats:
    47.5 pct cmp, 1663 yds, 7 td, 14 int, 54.9 rating.
    Guess whose rookie line that was?
    Why do people hate Blaine Gabbert so much? It wasn’t like he was the first player picked, he wasn’t even top 5. He was considered a 2 to 3 year project with tons of upside. Start talking trash in 2 years if he still sucks. It’s why I don’t subscribe to the Sporting News anymore. Just a bunch of Mizzou haters.

  9. cuda1234 says: May 14, 2012 7:14 PM

    The numbers say Blaine Gabbert is better than Tim Tebow but the media says Gabbert stinks and Tebow should start. What’s up with that?

  10. omniscient48 says: May 14, 2012 7:37 PM

    Chase Daniel = undrafted
    Blaine Gabbert = 1st round pick

    Go figure. Brees’ back-up Daniel was, is, and will be a much better QB than Gabbert.

  11. axespray says: May 14, 2012 7:56 PM

    Had Rodgers/Brady/Warner all played in their Real Rookie Seasons, they’d probably have worse stats than Gabbert had last year.

    Brady & Warner had a lot of work to do to improve, Rodgers had a goofy throwing motion and was way too skinny to be durable.

  12. thegreatgabbert says: May 14, 2012 8:22 PM

    How about looking at what Blaine did accomplish last season? He was supposed to be sitting and watching for a couple of years, but won the starting job within a couple of weeks. Held onto it all season long. Youngest quarterback ever to make his 13th and 14th starts. Only rookie QB to win his final game last season. Played the bulk of the season with a broken toe and never missed a snap. Younger than any QB drafted in 2012 except Griffin (by a couple months), and Osweiler.

  13. lynx79 says: May 14, 2012 9:12 PM

    Recently hired by the Colts, longtime NFL scout Dave Razzano predicted Gabbert would be a flop. If u do a “Dave Razzano” search one of the first results is a 2011 Yahoo Sports article where Razzano accurately trashes Gabbert in the 3rd paragraph….”every pass is an underneath curl route”…..”he (Gabbert) threw 16 touchdown passes” in his last year at Missouri.

    Razzano also predicted Jake Locker will be a star (which looks likely) AND at his Razz Report site that Chase Daniel IS a worthy NFL prospect as the earlier poster noted. It is a joke a proven talent evaluator like Razzano was unemployed while confirmed failures like Cardinals GM Rod Graves mumbles/bumbles thru a 30 yr career.

  14. doe22us says: May 14, 2012 9:23 PM

    Gabbert sucks just accept the fact, the only offense that u have is MJD and please dont tell me J.B. Who will throw to him Gabbert??

  15. KM91 says: May 14, 2012 9:49 PM

    Wait. People are declaring Gabbert a bust already? If some of you geniuses actually watched a Jaguar game last year (painful as they were) and didn’t regurgitate whatever Jon Gruden says, you would know that he wasn’t exactly placed in great circumstances. His QB coach had no experience coaching the position, Guy Whimper couldn’t block my 4 year old cousin, his “Pro Bowl” Tight End was allergic to the ball in the endzone and he was throwing to a bunch of waiver wire rejects at wide receiver. The addition of Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson will make an actual difference in this offense next season. I’m not saying that Gabbert will immediately become the next Aaron Rodgers, in 2012, but he will improve significantly under actual coaching.

  16. gostros19 says: May 14, 2012 10:24 PM

    All he needs now is a haircut

  17. thegreatgabbert says: May 14, 2012 10:48 PM

    Locker is going to be a star and Gabbert is bust?
    Tennessee went out and drafted an experienced QB AFTER they drafted Locker and had a look at him. Jax traded their experienced starter AFTER they had a look at Gabbert, then gave him the starting job.

    Blaine is secure to start his second season, while the word out of Tennessee is that Hasselbeck is still #1. Locker is a couple of years older than Gabbert, and had half the Wonderlic score. O.K., a bit less than half.

  18. rollteal says: May 14, 2012 10:48 PM

    One year.. One freaking season.
    We know nothing let’s come back to this after season 3.

  19. thacloser86 says: May 14, 2012 11:55 PM

    Mel Kiper and Todd Mcshay should both be fired they always boost players draft that turns out to be BUST.

  20. cobibones13 says: May 15, 2012 2:38 AM

    People need to quit spouting off 4 million excuses for Blaine Gabbert every time he’s mentioned in a story.

    He was drafted in the top ten, the Jags gave up their 2nd round pick for him also. He sucked so bad last year people have the right to think he’ll never be worth the draft pick. Nothing will change that until he plays much better.

    I would rather hear from Mularkey that Gabbert has to earn the starting spot over Henne instead of him basically saying it’s being handed to Gabbert.

  21. joe.attaboy says: May 15, 2012 2:00 PM

    thacloser86 says: May 14, 2012 11:55 PM

    Mel Kiper and Todd Mcshay should both be fired they always boost players draft that turns out to be BUST.

    Do you really, really, really think that any general manager or personnel specialist on any NFL team listen to anything that Kiper, McShay or any other sports network/Internet “expert” thinks when they’re deciding to make a pick? Seriously, is that what you believe?

    Having seen every Jaguar game last season
    and every play involving Gabbert (something hardly anyone commenting here can say), I’ll say one thing: watch Luke McCown’s performance against the Jets in game two, and then you’ll understand why an inexperienced, not-really-ready rookie quarterback was thrown into the fire the way Gabbert was. Making excuses for Gabbert would be easy, and no one on that team thought it was going to be easy for him. But the idea of McCown continuing to play the way he did was just too much for anyone to stand.

    Gabbert is going to be a much improved player this season and he’s going to shock a lot of his naysayers. And then I’m going to be barbequing and serving a whole lot of crow. Free, too.

  22. Josh McSwain says: Jun 1, 2012 12:52 PM

    Ugh- the 16 TDs thing again- Missouri ran for 28 TDs that season. If you have good red zone runners, why not run it, which is safer?

    He had better teammates at Missouri than what the Jaguars had last season- and played against NFL defenses. I’m not concerned too much with his throwing. His fumbling is what concerns me most. He can still be a good QB, but not great. I never thought he would be great. Newton and Mallett were the only two out of that class that had any greatness factor out of that class. Dalton is overrated as crap, he’s nothing more than a game manager and Kapernick looks like everything that scouts criticize- funky throwing motion, weak competition, up and down team record, etc. Locker was inaccurate. He can work on that some, but there is only so much you can do about that.

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