Without MJD, Gabbert’s Confidence Not Affected

By Zack Cimini


All it takes are solid performances to quiet critics. With so many rookie quarterbacks not only drafted last year, but outdoing expectations, Blaine Gabbert was the odd quarterback out. He struggled the most and looked like he would have the furthest along to come from any 2011 rookie quarterback. A couple of preseason games in and Gabbert looks like he was the signal caller that dedicated himself the most in the off-season.

The focus in Jacksonville for some time was involving Maurice Jones-Drew’s holdout. The star running backs contract squabbles have been spotlighted daily. Now with the way Gabbert and backup running back Rashad Jennings have performed, it will lessen the urgency of upper management to secure a deal favoring Drew’s bargaining power. They’ll assuredly be happy to resign him but they will not give in to his demands.

The transformation of Gabbert starts with many areas. His mental clock in the pocket seems unrushed. He can stand in the pocket more relaxed and with ease, progressing from options but maintaining the same demeanor. Before he seemed reluctant to withstand in the pocket. If options one or two were not open his tendency for happy feet, poor mechanics, and a poor throw would occur.

Upgrades at wide receiver could be one of the main reasons for improvement. Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson are huge weapons of improvement for Gabbert to have at his arsenal. An off-season to work with the team without violating the NFL rules looks like it’s starting to pay off. Remember last season, Gabbert along with everyone else couldn’t because of the lockout.

When the 2011 season concluded, voices rose that Tim Tebow should be a quarterback brought into Jacksonville. Besides selling tickets, Tebow figured to be a proper challenge to Gabbert. The Jaguars instead signed Chad Henne, who has not even been mentioned as a possible starter. This is Gabbert’s team and he has played like it. He outperformed Drew Brees significantly with two touchdown throws and over 100 yards in limited action in preseason game two.

Gabbert is showing enough to become fantasy worthy in deep leagues. In updated rankings he will probably move up to the late teens/early 20’s.


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