Gabbert could get lost in shuffle with Jaguars changes


Now that Jack Del Rio’s gone, it’s worth thinking about how the Jaguars are going to look in 2012.

My first question is one that any prospective head coach will have: Must Blaine Gabbert remain the “quarterback of the future” for this team?

It’s hard to imagine that keeping Gabbert as the starter will be a prerequisite of the job. Only true franchise quarterbacks keep their gigs without competition when there is a big shakeup with the coaching staff or front office.

G.M. Gene Smith drafted Gabbert and will reportedly stick around in Jacksonville. But he shouldn’t force Gabbert on his next hire.

Fans won’t want to “give up” on the No. 10 overall pick after one year, but taking a quarterback that high is no longer the financial investment it used to be.  The next Jaguars coach will have Gabbert as an option at quarterback, but he shouldn’t be the only option.

Gabbert’s play this year raises serious questions whether he’ll ever be a quality starter. He was put in a difficult situation this season, but you can separate him out from that.

It’s hard to teach pocket presence at the NFL level.  And it’s hard to remember a successful quarterback with worse pocket presence and accuracy than Gabbert at any point in his career.   Gabbert is the opposite of poised.

These aren’t just the usual rookie struggles. Christian Ponder has had difficulties, but he makes a handful of plays each game that show he could be a quality player. Gabbert hasn’t done that.

Teams that take the wrong quarterback high in the draft usually make two mistakes.  They draft the wrong guy, and then they can’t admit the mistake for 3-4 years. (Think JaMarcus Russell, J.P. Losman, Kyle Boller.)

A new coach in Jacksonville shouldn’t be tied to Gabbert. He should be allowed to bring in who he wants at quarterback.

If Gabbert improves and earns a starting job next year through competition, consider that a pleasant surprise.

42 responses to “Gabbert could get lost in shuffle with Jaguars changes

  1. for the love of god, since when is playing 6 games mean a QB is going to be a bust when he as the WORST offensive & passing offense in the NFL?! Give him some receivers that can get seperation & catch the freakin ball and THEN if he still has the issues call him a bust. My word..

  2. “And it’s hard to remember a quarterback with worse pocket presence and accuracy than Gabbert at any point in his career”

    And yet you mention JaMarcus Russell two paragraphs later….

    Also: David Carr

  3. I think it was a curious move to draft him in the first place. He was a pretty good college QB and put the ball up a lot, but he still made a lot of mistakes and missed many throws. Throw in his lack of mobility and I don’t think you have a 10th overall pick. I just think Jax was desparate to draft a QB to get fans excited for the future after many years of mediocrity with Leftwich and Garrard. Don’t give up on the kid yet, but if you have a chance to draft a Landry Jones or Robert Griffin III, I think you need to do it. They need a lot of help on that O-line and at WR also though.

  4. I say draft a WR and teach the big boys up front to block. Hire a good coach who will bring in a damn good QB coach along with him. Micheal Vick wasn’t the greatest pocket QB in his career and being in Philly did wonders for the man. Our last QB coach is in Carolina and look at Cam Newton now. If it wasn’t for Del Rio’s ego he would be coaching up the boy and instead he’s doing it for Killa Cam!!! If all else fails then draft a QB in 2013. Don’t waste a pick on a QB in the next draft when you don’t have any playmakers in the WR corps!!! And maybe a TE somewhere between the 3-5 rds since Marcedes Lewis looks like he lost all confidence in his hands….C’mon maaaaaaaaan!!!

  5. The premise of your piece is ridiculous for several reasons.

    The front office handed the draft card in with their eyes wide open. They knew he was raw. They knew he had less starting experience than the other rookie QBs available. They knew that JDR might get canned after the season. They viewed Gabbert as a project which is why they didn’t immediately cut or try to trade Garrard. They only cut Garrard once it was absolutely clear that he was no longer the guy he was as recently as a year ago (perhaps the years of “toughness” suddenly caught up/no offseason to rehab back).

    Gene Smith rejected the contract extension because he was the only one in the organization who was offered one. None of his scouts were offered one and he’s a standup guy who didn’t want to be the guy who took job security when people he works with and depends on weren’t offered the same security.

    To think that Gabbert isn’t the starter going into the offseason is laughable. Get him a real QB coach, get him a HC who is more hands on, get him some WRs that aren’t bottom of the roster or retread guys, and get him an offseason worth of coaching.

    Pieces like this one demonstrate a lack of research & analytical thinking and are purely basement sports fan style speculation.

  6. read my lips…

    you would have to be a fool to get rid of Gabbert now,

    he needs some weapons on offense and an offensive guru coach to COACH him , he needs COACHING

    simple as that,

    offensive minded coaches

    it would hurt to also get him a WR that can actually catch and a decent RB to spell Joe-Drew

  7. Gabbert does make a handful of plays each game that make him look like a quality NFL QB. He’s usually, so far, good for about a drive or so a game — certainly the drive that ended up with a field goal after Marcedes Lewis did his Sir Drops-a-lot impersonation in the end zone was an NFL drive. The problem is that most of the time, either Gabbert is inaccurate, or the line breaks down, or the receivers don’t get open or when they do, they drop it. If they could just come up with a way to all suck at once and then play well at the same time after that, they could maybe get two drives per game!

  8. Bring Tebow home to Jacksonville for next season and build a team around him. Denver wants an Elway Jr anyways.

    I think Jax fans will go for it. He would sell tickets.

    He and MJD would be a lethal combo together…

  9. .

    Some young quarterbacks seem to perform best when “thrown to the wolves “. Peyton Manning and Ben Roelisberger come to mind. Others, such as Tom Brady and Aaron Rogers seem to have benefited from a stint as a reserve. Gabbert has not done well so far. The wolves are devouring him.


  10. Gabbert does not have it, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. He shies away from contact and has zero pocket presence. I’d give him one mroe year tops and then pink slip him.

  11. Jason Hill drops the game-winner with 4-seconds left in Cleveland, Gabbert put the ball right in his hands.

    Marcedes Lewis drops a TD pass vs. Houston last Sunday, even made Peter King’s list for worst goat of the week. There wasn’t anyone within 10-feet of him.

    I’m not a Jags fan, but give the guy a couple of receivers that can catch a friggin’ TD pass when it’s laid in there perfectly.

  12. What Gabbert deserves is a reasonable chance to succeed, and an honest evaluation. What I hate is when a GM stubbornly refuses to admit the truth about a draft pick. GMs hate to admit they were wrong.

    Frankly, from watching Gabbert live and in person all year long, I see tremendous talent. He suffers from bad WRs and lousy protection. There’s just no way to give the guy a fair evaluation with these players surrounding him.

  13. Consider the case of John Fox and Matt Moore. Fox basically phoned in his final year at Carolina, much the way Del Rio has, I expect. Matt Moore looked horrible in the first few games and Jimmy Clausen looked even worse. Moore has looked solid and even impressive during Miami’s recent run. Could Gabbert’s lack of growth/success be attributed to a lame duck coach knowing that whatever he does won;t save his job? Unless someone like Barkley falls in their lap they’d be better off seeking some more defensive talent high in the first round and QB shopping in the second.

  14. I haven’t watched any of the Jaguars games this year, so I don’t know how bad their offense is. The Vikings receivers are pretty brutal, the “#1” receiver got cut midseason. Ponder is still looking decent and like he has some promise. And as far as protection goes, I think the Vikings need 4 new starters at OL next year. The Jaguars offense may be worse, but that is hard for me to believe.

  15. Well put. I hope Blaine can improve and be our franchise QB but he has not looked very good (step forward in the pocket Blaine). In his defense, he does need a number one WR (Justin Blackmon) who will go get the ball! And Marcedes “Two left hands” Lewis has to improve or be shown the door. He looks the part but his one good year was a contract year…. We need an innovative OC/QB coach that will help Blaine improve like Harbaugh and his staff did with Alex Smith in SF.

  16. He NEVER should have been starting this early. He was a 21 year old who left school after his true junior season having only started 2 years of college ball in a short passing spread offense. The Jaguars are idiots for giving him the keys to the team right off the bat. He shouldn’t have even been an option in 2011.

  17. Gabbert got thrown to the wolves before he was ready. Pocket presence is the demonstration of fearlessness and confidence. If he’s ever ready, those things come naturally

  18. “And it’s hard to remember a successful quarterback with worse pocket presence and accuracy than Gabbert at any point in his career.”

    You answered yourself

    “(Think JaMarcus Russell, J.P. Losman, Kyle Boller.)”

    Sanchez is just as bad at times and has started the last 3 years. Flacco at times looks even worse. But they have much more talent on their roster. Holmes, Burress, Boldin, Tory Smith, Keller, Dickson, etc. They have better o-lines as well. Also his schedule hasn’t been a cake walk either. @Pittsburgh, Baltimore, @Houston, @Indianapolis @Cleveland, Houston. Indi is the only non-top ten deffense on that schedule. Give him a break

  19. The Jags have a good running game and solid defense, usually a key to success for young quarterbacks. Gabbert can’t hit his throws and when he does, the receiver drops it. I (like many others) was not sold on Gabbert coming out of MU. He was an average QB in college so how could he be expected to be a good NFL QB? I live in Missouri and watched quite a few MU games and I had Gabbert ranked behind all of the first round quarterbacks.

  20. Well, they used a 1st and a 2nd (in trade up with Washington) to get him. I’ve got to imagine he’ll get at least one more year with a full offseason.

  21. This is precisely why I think Mike Mayock is a nut job. Mayock praised Gabbert from the beginning. He was so sure that Gabbert should be the number one QB off the board, plus he had his doubts about Cam Newton. Enough said.

  22. Granted, he was a high 2nd round pick but Carolina was in a similar situation with Jimmy Clausen last season. If the Jags can draft a quality QB in April, they should, and give Gabbert an opportunity to earn the starting job in training camp.

    As for JDR, he was toast the day Garrard was cut.

  23. If he doesn’t get a line, he’s going to end up like Carr to where he probably still has nightmares of having .5 seconds to throw the ball. He’s actually shown a bit of poise of late in his staying in the pocket, but when your oline gives up 7 sacks you obviously don’t have time to make throws.

  24. “Ask Jimmy Clausen about commitment to a drafted QB.”

    Speaking of QBs with minimal accuracy and a comically bad pocket presence…

  25. Give him someone to throw to…ahem Justin Blackmon….and we’ll see how he does.

    Drew Brees never would of been giving much of a chance with your logic. Yes, the new coach should try to bring in some competition…but don’t spend another 1st round draft pick on a QB a year after drafting Gabbert.

  26. I would take Gabbert on the Eagles in a minute.

    He is very raw, but has a boatload of potential. He was thrown to wolves that were way out of his league. He had no business starting this year.

    I think giving him 2-3 years of watching someone else play, and learning behind the scenes is exactly what he needs. And I would be more than happy to have him on my team doing exactly that.

  27. @ Gregg Rosenthal – “And it’s hard to remember a successful quarterback with worse pocket presence and accuracy than Gabbert at any point in his career. Gabbert is the opposite of poised.”

    Damn, Gregg

    @ Gregg Rosenthal, again – “Teams that take the wrong quarterback high in the draft usually make two mistakes. They draft the wrong guy, and then they can’t admit the mistake for 3-4 years. (Think JaMarcus Russell, J.P. Losman, Kyle Boller.)”

    This is true, it is difficult ot know when to cut bait on a QB. QB’s in the past took 3-4 years at times to become the great QB they became (just think how nice it would have been if my Browns had kept Len Dawson, who was cut by the Browns AND the Steelers before his Hall of Fame career began). I don’t know of any first round QB to be cut after only one year (Todd Marinovich was cut after 2).

  28. Gabbert was a draft-day hype job. He never should have gone anywhere near the first round. Happens every year, the so-called “pundits” decide some guy is a “franchise” QB with nothing other than his workout specs to back it up. If he’d gone in the 2nd or 3rd, sat for a few seasons, maybe he’d have been serviceable but now it’ll take years to undo the damage.

  29. Gabbert is not ready. He basically never follows through when there semi-pressure. I laughed when they were showing him flinching when throwing when a pass rush was coming making him highly inaccurate. He has shown a little bit but less than the other QB’s drafted in the first 2 rounds. Reminds me of Alex Smith, very unsure and having a poor o-line and lack of weapons isn’t helping much.

  30. I have one question… What happened to all those fools on espn and nfl network saying the panthers should take him over Cam? ” I just don’t know how good he truly wants to be.” Well i think we have all found out he wants to be better than gabbert like he always has been. Gabbert sucks and everyone knows it. You fools should be ashamed.

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