Jags: A Step in the Right Direction

Posted: August 13, 2012 in Jacksonville Jaguars, NFL, NFL teams, sports

The good news is Blaine Gabbert didn’t suck.

The Jaguars quarterback began his second season and looked okay in the team’s 32-31 “victory” over the New York Giants. He completed half of his 10 passes for 62 yards and, yes, his short TD pass to Cecil Shorts showed a nice touch.

What Gabbert did in his brief appearance in the Jaguars’ first exhibition game of the 2012 season was encouraging mainly because it wasn’t a step back. I did think he looked a little skittish on one of his deep throws, but who thought he’d suddenly become Ben Roethlisberger in the pocket?

All in all, the Jaguars looked like they’re moving in the right direction. First-year Mike Mularkey has brought an energy that was clearly lacking in last year’s dysfunctional coaching staff.

Hindsight tells us we should have expected a miserable season in ’11. Maybe 5-11 wasn’t so bad considering the obstacles the Jaguars faced. Those obstacles started with a lameduck coaching staff. Jack Del Rio knew he was around for his eighth season only because of the lockout. Former owner Wayne Weaver wasn’t going to fire Del Rio and hire a new coach when it wasn’t certain there’d even be a season. What owner in his right mind would pay TWO head coaches when there might not be any games? Many on Del Rio’s staff spent most of the season looking for new jobs.

The releasing of starting quarterback David Garrard a week before the season opened was another clear sign. Was it Del Rio’s decision? Gene Smith’s decision? Could Garrard have even played considering his back issue?

The formula of poor coaching and a rookie quarterback is not one for success.

Enter Mularkey. He inherits a solid defense, although not the NFL’s sixth best as the statistics would indicate. Whoever took the job would have improved the energy in the locker room and the enthusiasm of the fans. Mularkey still has to prove he can be a winning head coach, and he must do so with the distractions of a pouting star and holdout in Maurice Jones-Drew and a first-round draft pick in Justin Blackmon who had an off-the-field issue and then started late because of a holdout.

For the moment, things are looking up. Exhibition scores don’t count, but it’s always better to win than lose. Of course, everything about this season depends on Gabbert. Is he going to be a star or a bust?

He passed his first test, but remember what that renowned philosopher Allan Iverson once said, “Practice? It’s practice.”

  1. Wyman says:

    Those are the words I was looking for, if only I could have thought of them. Thank you for saying the truth. It’s a start. Next game, more insight.

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