It's more of a matter of when than if. Will it be towards the middle of the 2011 season? Or at the end of the year? Maybe by the start of next year?
With starting quarterback David Garrard slated to miss Saturday’s team scrimmage with a back injury, Gabbert will have a chance to prove that he can carry the load as a rookie. And the catch is, he doesn't have to do that much to surpass Garrard.
As he proves that he can manage an offense and make enough plays to keep the Jaguars in games, he’ll be pushed to start. That’s because the front office wants him to be the face of the franchise as early as possible.
Even Garrard seems to understand that people immediately want to see what Gabbert is capable of, according to the Florida Times-Union.
"I'm pretty sure everybody wants to see 11 anyway," Garrard said, laughing, referring to rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert. "But I'm feeling good, I'm feeling optimistic about things.""I definitely want to be out there — it's not just to be out there to look better than Blaine," Garrard added. "I want to be out there so I can continue to get better as a quarterback, to continue to get this offense rolling."
Garrard may say that it’s not about just looking better than Gabbert at this point, and to a certain degree, he’s right. It’s about looking significantly better than the rookie from Missouri, because that’s what he likely has to do in order to avoid being cut.
Gabbert has shown sparks of brilliance early on in training camp and he definitely as an NFL arm. He’s also shown that he will make his fair share of rookie mistakes, but his potential has caught the front office's eye.
That means Garrard will have to seriously outshine Gabbert, and even backup Luke McCown, to avoid being a salary cap casualty (he’ll make $8 million) in 2011.
So while Garrard simply watches during Saturday’s scrimmage (7 p.m.,) Gabbert only has to be adequate to gain ground on Garrard. And if that happens, Gabbert would be just one step closer to taking over as the starting quarterback this season for the Jaguars.
Tags: Blaine Gabbert, David Garrard, injury, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Jaguars, Luke McCown, quarterback
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