- 1. The Jaguars are going to be an inconsistent team until they have consistency at quarterback. There’s a reason the Jaguars have been on such a rollercoaster – our quarterback play. Oh…and our defense. But a bad defense doesn’t drag a team through the lows that an inconsistent quarterback can and a good defense can’t hide a team’s flaws the way a great quarterback can. The Colts and the Patriots have had years of good defense and years of bad defense in the Manning and Brady eras, but rarely (if ever) did they have inexplicable 25 point losses. And that’s because their quarterbacks are consistent. They weren’t going 3-and-out on consecutive drives. They weren’t putting it all on the defense. Until the Jaguars develop Blaine Gabbert into a franchise quarterback, the one who can put the team on his shoulders and take the pressure off the defense and get the most out of whoever his receivers are and whatever minuscule separation their getting and creating holes for the running game rather than needing the running game to make passing lanes, the Jaguars will suffer losses like these and be frustratingly inconsistent. You don’t need to be consistent to get to the playoffs, but the teams that show up in the postseason every year do so because they are consistent and get strong and steady play from their quarterback.
- 2. That being said, I think it’s still not time to start Gabbert. This is a “reading the tea leaves” type of presumption – I don’t know what the coaches are seeing out there. But 8 days ago, they told us Luke McCown had one heckuva camp and was ready to be the starter for Jacksonville. They fired David Garrard, a four year starter for the Jaguars, because the coaches believed that McCown could perform better than Garrard and that Gabbert was not yet able to perform at that level. I find it hard to believe that Luke is suddenly that much worse than they thought and Blaine is suddenly that much better. But 4 INT’s, a 32% completion rate, and 59 yards in three and a half quarters of action might just change people’s minds.
- 3. We’ve been here before, let’s see what happens. The seasons have an ebb and flow to them every year – bad teams surge late and early-season powerhouses turn out to be impostors down the stretch. The AFC South is still wide open with a Manning-less Colts team that is finally showing it’s true colors. Blaine Gabbert may not be ready today, but he may be ready soon and when he finally takes the field, he could end up being a quick learner. We all thought there was a good chance that the league would still be locked out right now, so let’s be happy to have top-notch entertainment every Sunday and Monday and plenty to talk about during the week. There’s a lot of football left to play, so let’s give the Jaguars a chance to show us who they are before we make anymore Doomsday proclamations than we’re already hearing from a national media that loves to bury us in their uninformed bullsh*t. I’m liking this defense and Maurice Jones-Drew looks healthy – let’s see where that takes us.
– Andrew Hofheimer