Writing about QBs is easy story fodder. When things are boring in the offseason, you can always spark some buzz with an article about a QB, especially a new one. Therefore, since the lockout is extended for a few more days (feel free to make a collective groan), I decided to do an article on the “Blaine Train”. After all, as my fellow writer said, “The more Blaine, the better”.
Blaine Gabbert was considered a 5-star recruit out of high school and he was also ranked as the #1 pro-style QB prospect out of high school. At the University of Misssouri, he spent time in his freshman year sitting behind Chase Daniel and Chase Patton. However, in his debut against the Illinois Fighting Illini in 2009, he threw for 313 yards and 3 touchdowns and ran for another. In his junior year, 2010, he threw for 3,186 yards and 16 touchdowns. In the Scouting Combine, 4.61 40 time and scored a 42 on the Wonderlic. He was selected with the 10th overall pick
What he Brings to the Table
Blaine Gabbert is a 6-5, 234 pound QB out of the University of Missouri, who is expected to eventually take over the reins as the Jaguars' face of the franchise. As you may notice, Blaine, is a bit on the tall side, which a contrast to David Garrard and Mark Brunell who are both 6-1. Those extra 4 inches help a QB scan the field and combined with his high Wonderlic score, he can make pre-snap reads and adjustments. His 10 foot broad jump shows his burst, which could be manifested by Blaine suddenly running to the outside of the pocket to avoid a blitzing rusher, allowing him to buy some time to hit Jason Hill downfield for a touchdown.
One criticism of Gabbert is that he tends to feel phantom pressure in the pocket. However, I believe that his perceived jumpiness in the pocket is a product of the spread offensive system that the Mizzou Tigers ran. There seems to be a large amount of short passes and screens that are thrown within a second or two after the snap. Another factor is the fact that he is a dual-threat QB that can make plays with his legs. Most dual-threat QBs like Mike Vick and Donovan McNabb would tend to try and run at first impulse during the early part of their careers, but eventually they both learned to stay in the pocket and become good passers, while others like Vince Young would fall by the wayside. That brings me to my next point. Gabbert is only 21 years old, which means that he has a lot of time to develop as a passer and by the time he starts to hit his prime, he’ll have a large amount of experience as a starter.
What We Expect:
Blaine Gabbert, like any player drafted in the Top 10, is to become the future face of the franchise, supplanting the incumbent David Garrard. He will probably take mental reps throughout the regular season due to the lockout-shortened offseason. I know everyone is frustrated about David Garrard starting this year, but Gabbert is simply not ready to take on the reins yet. Fortunately, Jaguar fans will get a good look at him in the preseason, but as a warning, don't let the success that he may or may not have make you jump to a conclusion about his career as a whole. Not every QB is a rookie sensation, like Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco. However, by next year, Garrard should be traded off and Gabbert should be groomed as the starter. Hopefully, Gabbert will lead the Jaguars to prolonged success and make Gene Smith look like a genius.
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