Gabs Starting? Don’t Be Stupid

Posted: August 24, 2011 in Jacksonville Jaguars
Tags: , , , , , , ,

I know Gabbert is the future, perhaps a franchise quarterback. That’s not expecting too much from a player selected No. 10 overall in the draft. I also know we live in an era when young quarterbacks don’t generally sit and learn for three or four years before starting.

And, yes, quarterbacks who started as rookies in recent years have done well: the Steelers’ Ben Roethlisberger, the Jets’ Mark Sanchez, the Ravens’ Joe Flacco, the Falcons’ Matt Ryan, the Rams’ Sam Bradford and the Lions’ Matthew Stafford. But with few exceptions, those rookie QBs stepped into situations where teams were struggling and looking for starting QBs.

The Jaguars’ situation is different. It allows the team to let Gabbert develop on the sideline.

Despite what most national pundits have said, the Jaguars enter the season with a reasonable chance to make the playoffs. They went deep into December last season still in the playoff hunt. Since then they’ve significantly upgraded their defense. Their division appears weaker.

Garrard may not be the team’s savior, but he’s far from a major problem. He’s 39-38 as a starter in the regular season. He’s won a road playoff game (Pittsburgh) and certainly played well enough to win another (New England). His career quarterback rating is 85.5, better than average.

Gabbert backers point out how Garrard became the starting quarterback less than a week before the start of the 2007 season when Coach Jack Del Rio shocked the NFL by cutting Byron Leftwich. Behind Garrard, the Jaguars went 9-3 (11-5 overall) and made the playoffs. Keep in mind by that point Garrard had been in the NFL for five years and had started 18 games. He was 10-8 as a starter.

Now how long Del Rio stays with Garrard is a matter for debate.

If the team struggles on the field, particularly on offense, then giving Gabbert a chance makes sense. There might even be a business reason to give Gabbert a shot at starting at some point. If the team starts slowly and seats remain empty, it may take inserting Gabbert in the lineup to create a buzz from the fans. Fans shouldn’t dictate what coaches do, but the NFL is big, big business and anyone who thinks business never plays a role in what happens on the field has their heads in the sand.

Whoever starts at quarterbacks needs some help. Tackles Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton need to perform at a high level. They’re entering their third seasons and inexperience is no longer an excuse. Of course, Britton’s back needs to hold up. Mike Thomas needs a complimentary mate at wide receiver. Rookie Cecil Shorts is the Jaguars’ best bet. And, of course, the newly acquired defenders need to earn their fat paychecks.

If those things happen then Garrard may look better than ever and Gabbert will have a better chance of being the Jaguars’ franchise quarterback – in the future.

 

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Comments
  1. I totally agree uncle Dave! I really hope we can leave Gabbert out so he can digest the system. An Aaron Rodgers situation, so to speak.

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