Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne will battle for the starting quarterback job of the Jacksonville Jaguars when training camp opens on July 25. Gabbert is entering a pivotal season in his young career as he looks to prove he was worthy of a top 10 selection by the Jaguars in 2011.
After an incredibly underwhelming rookie season Gabbert was better last year but still struggled to produce consistently for the Jaguars. However, one of Gabbert’s teammates believes he has a chance to take another step forward this season. Tight end Marcedes Lewis appeared on NFL Network’s “Total Access” on Wednesday and said he still believes in Gabbert.
“I’m proud of him, regardless of what others may think. I know how hard it is for him, and I know he puts a lot of pressure on himself to be great,” Lewis said. “”It’s him and Chad Henne. They’re battling and the way he’s just stayed focused, put his head down and pinned his ears back, I think when it’s time to go and the season starts, he’ll be ready.”
Gabbert’s completion percentage rose from 50.8-percent in 2011 to 58.3-percent in 10 starts last season. The increased accuracy didn’t lead to increased points. Gabbert threw just nine touchdowns with six interceptions in his 10 games before being replaced by Henne.
Lewis said he thought Gabbert was a bit overwhelmed by being thrust into the starting job as a rookie. With another year under his belt Lewis feels Gabbert is more prepared for the role this time around.
“It’s been a little maturity there issue about just growing up and owning the offense and taking everybody under your wing and leading us where we want to go,” Lewis said. “So far this year from OTAs and quarterback school and being there, he’s taken that step forward.”