Gabbert grabs criticism by the horns


With all the talk in recent days about whether and to what extent Cardinals quarterback Kevin Kolb is (according to Raiders defensive tackle Tommy Kelly) scared, it’s important to take a look at the guy who by all appearances needed a 12-step program to break the habit of making 12-step drops.

Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert, who some believe was destined to lose the job to free-agent arrival Chad Henne, has looked good in 2012.  And Gabbert is developing the kind of edge that will serve him well throughout his career.

“I think that’s part of our job description:  Deal with the crap,” Gabbert told Michael Silver of Yahoo! Sports on day before completing 13 of 16 passes in a win at New Orleans.  “But for people to say [I’m scared], I just don’t understand it.  They’ve never played in the NFL.  They really don’t know what goes on, or what happens.

“So that argument, I think, is just a copout for people to make because they’re — I don’t want to necessarily want to say jealous — but, they couldn’t do my job.  And that’s the truth.  They can’t do my job.  There are 31 other guys that can do my job, and that’s it.  And that’s kind of the way that the quarterbacks look at it.  Selfishly, I think it’s the best job in the world, but that [requires] putting in an honest day’s work on a daily basis to keep it.”

Actually, more than 31 guys can do the job.  But not nearly that many can do it well.  And, last year, Gabbert definitely didn’t.

Of course, quarterbacks often get too much of the credit when things go well, and too much of the blame when they don’t.  In 2011, the Jaguars were bad, and Gabbert got the brunt of the blame.

“He’s a young guy, and he walked into a nightmare situation,” linebacker Paul Posluszny told Silver.  “He had all the negative things that anybody could have happen to him.  I said, ‘Man, I feel bad for Blaine, because he’s a good kid and he’s doing everything the right way, but we’re not winning on the field.  And, of course, he gets the blame for it.'”

Being called “scared” is perhaps the biggest insult that can be hurled at a football player at any level.  It’s one thing for that label to be applied by another player.  But when folks in the media who didn’t play in the NFL do it, it cuts even more deeply.

Former NFL defensive lineman Jeff Lageman, who now works as a broadcaster in Jacksonville, told Silver about a quarterback Lageman’s Jets faced in 1990.  “We’d watched him look jittery on film and concluded he was scared, and on their first play all four of us [defensive linemen] intentionally jumped offsides and blasted him.  He fumbled the next snap, and we kicked his butt all day,” Lageman said.

The quarterback was Troy Aikman.

“At that moment, if you’d have told me he was going to be a Hall of Famer, I’d have said you were completely insane,” Lageman said.

So let’s not go completely insane by presuming Gabbert is a bust based on a rookie season in which he had no offseason program and not much of a team around him.  The fact that Cam Newton and Andy Dalton played so well makes Gabbert’s gaffes more glaring.  But guys can get better, even though the modern game gives them less time to figure it out before they get thrown out the door.

Indeed, if Terry Bradshaw were held to today’s standards, Bradshaw would have been back in Shreveport long before the light ever went on.  Even if Gabbert breaks out in his third year, he’ll be ahead of some of the game’s all-time greats.

28 responses to “Gabbert grabs criticism by the horns

  1. Gabbert and especially Kolb need to look at how Luck handled the Steelers pass rush. Step up side to side to buy time while always staying posed with eyes down field. Not getting happy, jittery feet, running in the opposite direction and or freezing up like a deer in headlights.

  2. Now for Heath Evans, Michael Lombardi, Evan Silva and the rest of the talking heads to do what Florio was man enough to just do.

    Nice work, Mike. Blaine has been working his tail off and it’s not to see his work recognized.

    Go Jags.

  3. It took 2 preseason game to have PFT change its opinion from “Gabbert is a bust in the making” to “Gabbert might be a HoF bust in the making”.

  4. zoxitic says:
    Aug 20, 2012 10:06 AM
    Eat up everyone. Plenty of crow to go around.
    Please explain, I can’t wait.

  5. Bratkowski is gonna be the best thing to happen to Gabbert. Brat is really good with big QB’s until they blow a knee out.

  6. One season is to small a sample size to judge a QB especially a 21 year old coming out of college early from a Spread system with no offseason with a Head Coach that thought that throwing the kid in early would save his job. Gabbert has looked good so far and my biggest concern with him is that his position coach is the destroyer of Josh Freeman.

  7. Being a Mizzou fan I watched every game. Gabbert can throw 5 yards down field all day. When I comes to third and long there are only so many times you can run a screen. He couldn’t hit anyone past the marker 10 yards or more. But maybe they see something I dont. I hope he gets it.

  8. I didn’t know criticism had horns….
    Seriously, I wish him the best. That team badly needs someone to step up and become the new face since it appears MJD won’t be showing up anytime soon….

  9. I’ll eat my Gabbert-is-a-bust crow when he does more than have two good preseason appearances.

    The negative sample size is still much, much, larger than the positive sample size.

    Let’s wait until they even up a little bit.

  10. Too bad Rosenthal isn’t here anymore…seeing his writeup on this same story at his new gig, he begrudgingly says it would be “nice to be wrong about the guy.”

    Yes, it would be nice for all the nay sayers to be wrong about a QB who was unexpectedly thrown into the lion’s den by a coaching staff who had no idea what to do with him. With actual coaching, you can see the progress being made. Not saying he’s All-Pro this year, but I sure don’t think the team will be last in passing again either.

  11. Some of you guys are trying too hard. You’re still desperately scratching for something to rip Gabbert with. Just stop. His coaches are great. He’s not scared, or even jittery in the pocket anymore. Whatever you think you saw at Mizzou is irrelevant now. Let the man play. Go Jags!

  12. wait so mike gets credit for changing his tune now that it looks like gabbert might not be the bust he said he was last year? just wait he will be saying it again if he has a bad game or 2 this season or if the jags do not improve whether he has anything to do with it or not.

  13. Oh, there is a truck load of crow waiting for you buddy. But I figure you for someone who will never admit he is wrong no matter what.

    joetoronto says:
    Aug 20, 2012 10:21 AM
    zoxitic says:
    Aug 20, 2012 10:06 AM
    Eat up everyone. Plenty of crow to go around.
    Please explain, I can’t wait.

  14. zoxitic says:
    Aug 20, 2012 10:06 AM
    Eat up everyone. Plenty of crow to go around.


    LMAO….wake me up when the season starts. Gabbert still have everything to prove.

  15. All the excuses the apologists come up with doesn’t change the fact that he did(does) look scared while playing,and flinched/curled up into a ball before each hit last season. Maybe he changes this season. Maybe he continues to suck. But you can’t expect everyone to forget a season’s worth of scared play from the guy because he looked good in 2 exhibition games.

  16. Well let’s face it, he couldn’t get much worse than he was last year.

    I’m glad to see he’s showing an edge and he has looked pretty good the first two preseason games. Hopefully he just had a bad rookie season and learned from it so he could become a better QB. Jacksonville might have a reason to be excited about what they have for the future as long as they can solve the MJD problem

  17. So now that Gabbert’s bitter and jaded, he’s going to be good. All he needed was to hate people. Makes all kinds of sense.

  18. Gabbert is smarter than anyone else. Charles Darwin would have been the first one to tell you to run and duck when there are large angry beasts stoked on steroids chasing you down for bounty money. Pick your spots, live to fight another day. When the odds are more in your favor. That’s all he’s done. Didn’t anyone watch The Hunger Games?

  19. He’s the same exact guy he was in college, when he threw 2.9 passes per game further than 15 yards downfield. He is a bust, and has zero chance of success in this league. Preseason doesn’t count, and by game five he will be on the bench, forever. Can’t and won’t throw the ball downfield, and the league knows it. Can’t play. Won’t play.

  20. You seriously think NFL players give a flying crap what the media thinks? Much less that the criticism of someone who’s never even taken the field could possibly “cut deeper” than that of their fellow players who actually know and have experienced the game at that level? Please, please get over yourself; this was a new low even for PFT’s self-serving, editorializing drivel.

  21. Its coaching, just watch the film. They are protecting him with the shotgun and quick throws/reads. He is getting the ball out fast, before the pass rush can get to him but also hurting any chance of a deep passing game. Looks like he is only making one read and dumping it off. He doesnt step into the pocket at all (much like shorter QB’s). Gabbert looks better because the coaches are hiding his flaws (good coaching), but the tape will be out when the season starts and then we will see who the real Gabbert truly is.

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