Blaine Gabbert is the Jacksonville Jaguars’ franchise quarterback.
The rookie has all the makings of a star. Good frame, strong arm, nice athleticism.
He as tons of potential, but it has become apparent after a brutal performance against the Houston Texans this weekend (10-of-30 passing for two picks to one touchdown) that he’s not even a starting-caliber quarterback in the NFL at this point.
There will be those that make excuses for him and a lot of them will be justifiable to a certain degree. He doesn’t have good wide receivers to get the ball to. True. His receivers aren’t consistent pass catchers. True. His offensive line (ahem, Guy Whimper, Will Rackley) is struggling to keep him safe in the pocket. Also true.
Gabbert’s a rookie and will make rookie mistakes, so a lot of his problems are understandable.
But at the end of the day, Gabbert isn’t winning games. He isn’t showing toughness and he isn’t progressing.
The Jaguars are 1-5 with Gabbert as a starter. He’s completed only 45 percent of his passes and has a 62 QB Rating.
Against the Texans, Gabbert had to put at least 10 passes behind his receivers. If he led them a little more, they go for completions. What’s leading to that problem is the fact that Gabbert isn’t stepping up in the pocket and delivering his passes with authority.
His footwork wasn’t strong heading into the season and it’s absolutely destroying him. Not setting his feet and driving into throws is causing for passes to be behind receivers. This is the NFL, passes have to be right on.
The biggest concern though involving Gabbert’s bad footwork which is in turn is leading to his accuracy woes is his unwillingness to step up in the pocket and make a nice, solid delivery when a defender is closing in on him.
Colin Cowherd of ESPN radio said it best on Monday when calling out Gabbert’s toughness.
“Gabbert doesn’t like (contact), he doesn’t want to get hit,” Cowherd said.
Right on. Gabbert being timid is preventing him from being a decent quarterback and the Jaguars from winning games.
He might be young and it might just be a phase. But other rookie quarterbacks are doing fine under pressure and they are thriving, even when being pressured. Carolina Panthers rookie Cam Newton has passed for 2,393 yards and 11 touchdowns to nine interceptions. Cincinnati Bengals quarterback Andy Dalton has completed 62 percent of his passes and thrown for 1,479 yards. Granted, they both have better weapons around them than Gabbert does, but they are still stepping up and making plays.
Gabbert isn’t. Until he does, the Jaguars are not going to consistently win games. Right now, it seems like he isn't willing to do what it takes to win. That's not the sign of being a rookie, that's the sign of just not being a winner, yet.
Tags: Football, Jacksonville, Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL
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