The designated franchise quarterback might as well be the present too.
Incumbent starter Luke McCown struggled mightily against the New York Jets this weekend, throwing four interceptions in a performance that earned him a 1.5 QB rating. McCown was eventually pulled in the second half and was replaced by Gabbert, the 10th overall selection from the 2011 NFL Draft. It's a move that has had Jacksonville fans and national pundits alike asking if the switch would be permanent.
The answer is simple. Yes, it is time to insert Gabbert into the starting role and let him begin his learning curve.
Jacksonville head coach Jack Del Rio said he’s not sure whether it’s time to have the rookie start for the Jaguars, but the fact he’s even contemplating the decision tells you all you need to know.
“The next question is, what are you now going to do? The only thing I’d like to say today (Monday) is we are evaluating the tape and going through, and we have not begun turning our attention to the Panthers yet,” De Rio said.
There normally shouldn’t be a debate between a green rookie and a veteran quarterback. The fact that there is indicates exactly what we’ve seen the past two weeks: Luke McCown has the same skillset at 30-years-old as Gabbert does at 21.
And the Jaguars have game planned as if that were the case (because it is) in last week’s loss and Week One’s victory against Tennessee. Offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter has been conservative in his play calling because he’s been handicapped by McCown. So if the Jaguars are protecting their quarterback rather than utilizing him, it makes strengths that they do that with a young guy who needs time to develop.
Jacksonville has to be careful to put Gabbert in a good situation to where he doesn’t get shell-shocked and lose confidence, a la Chad Henne. The good news with that is Gabbert is mobile enough to escape pressure, which certainly helps a rookie that is learning how fast a pass rush is in the
NFL, and Koetter is experienced in compensating for poor quarterback play when devising game plans.
This isn’t to say that the Jaguars should expect Gabbert to come in putting up Cam Newton numbers if he does start this week, but Gabbert probably gives the Jaguars a better chance of winning than McCown does at this point. And if everything is even, doesn’t it make sense to go with potential?Tags: Blaine Gabbert, Football, Jack Del Rio, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Jaguars, Luke McCown, NFL, NFL Draft
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