Apparently it was the Jaguars’ shaky offensive line, and not their shaky quarterback, that caused them to call plays the way they did.
Jags offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski didn’t apologize too much for what could be construed as a lack of faith in Blaine Gabbert, however, because they didn’t turn it over and they won on the road.
Still missing a pair of injured starters up front, the Jags ran the ball 32 times, Gabbert attempted just 21 passes, and more than half of his passing yards for the game (155) came on his final attempt, an 80-yard game-winning touchdown to Cecil Shorts.
“We were a little concerned about the protection,’” Bratkowski said, via Vito Stellino of the Florida Times-Union. “We were having protection issues. We didn’t want to have a sack-fumble, those types of things. We played it a little conservative. It was nothing more than we wanted to make sure we didn’t get a turnover. We wanted to play good field position football. . . .
“In hindsight, I’m sure I’ll look back and think we probably should have thrown it here and there. But at the end of the day, we came away with a no-turnover game. That was a very solid thing for us. It allowed us to stay in the game.’’
They also ran on a third down in their own territory with in the last two minutes, then punted, rather than give Gabbert a chance to lose the game with a turnover. Head coach Mike Mularkey said the objective was to make the Colts burn a timeout.
They insisted it wasn’t a lack of faith in their second-year quarterback, but it doesn’t really matter.
Call it whatever you want, but the Jaguars are smart to limit Gabbert’s opportunities. Those who were there said he had a much better training camp, and looked like a different guy than the gun-shy rookie of a year ago.
But they’re not going to win many games if he’s dropping back 40 times a game. They’re probably not going to win many games regardless, but against the Colts, the clutch-and-grab strategy was effective.