The worst-case scenario means we won't be seeing this handsome devil running the Jaguars in 2013. Phil Sears-US PRESSWIRE

2012 Jaguars: Best and Worst Case Scenarios


For reasons beyond my comprehension, the “quarterback competition” between Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne has become a hot topic over the last several days. Earlier this week, Mike Mularkey declared Gabbert the starter for the 2012 season and stated that there was no open competition for the starting QB spot.

Despite this, people like Don Banks of SI.com are still saying comical things like “Blaine Gabbert will lose his starting quarterback job to Chad Henne by Week 3 (of the preseason),” while Jason Smith of NFL.com says Henne is “erratic and prone to bad turnovers” and he still “could keep Gabbert on the bench.”

Let’s get one thing clear: barring injury, Blaine Gabbert will be the starting quarterback for the Jacksonville Jaguars for week one of the 2012 season. Unless some combination of Chad Henne playing like Montana in his prime and Blaine Gabbert somehow playing worse than last season occurs, Chad Henne will not be with the first-team offense. Alfie Crow at SBNation.com does a good job explaining why Blaine Gabbert has to start for the Jaguars this season, but in short, Chad Henne starting at any point is likely a worst-case scenario for the Jaguars. It means either Gabbert is hurt, or Gabbert is playing badly enough to warrant his benching and likely the end of his starting career in Jacksonville.

Blaine Gabbert illustrating the worst-case scenario. Matt Stamey-US PRESSWIRE

Blaine Gabbert illustrating the worst-case scenario.

All this talk got me thinking about what are the best and worst-case scenarios for the Jaguars this season. Now I’m not going to be facetious – the worst-case scenario for any team is 0-16 and the best-case scenario is 16-0. I’m going to discuss how each scenario would play out and what the end result would be.

Best-Case Scenario

Week

Team

Prediction

1

at Vikings

W

2

vs Texans

W

3

at Colts

W

4

vs Bengals

W

5

vs Bears

L

6

Bye

7

at Raiders

W

8

at Packers

L

9

vs Lions

W

10

vs Colts

W

11

at Texans

L

12

vs Titans

W

13

at Bills

W

14

vs Jets

W

15

at Dolphins

W

16

vs Patriots

L

17

at Titans

W

2012 Record

12-4

 

In this scenario, Blaine Gabbert makes drastic improvements and leads the offense to a “middle-of-the-pack” ranking, while the defense maintains its top 5 ranking. At 12-4 the Jaguars take the AFC South crown for the first time and could possibly secure a first-round bye.

How it could happen:

This scenario only happens if Blaine Gabbert makes significant strides in his second season and if Gene Smith’s other first round picks – Eugene Monroe and Tyson Alualu – start playing at pro bowl levels. The revamped receiving core becomes a cohesive unit early in the season and chemistry with Gabbert is readily apparent. The key contributors on defense who were injured last year – Rashean Mathis, Paul Posluzny, Alualu, Derek Cox – all come back at full strength and the defense doesn’t miss a beat.

Worst-Case Scenario

Week

Team

Prediction

1

at Vikings

L

2

vs Texans

L

3

at Colts

W

4

vs Bengals

L

5

vs Bears

L

6

Bye

7

at Raiders

W

8

at Packers

L

9

vs Lions

L

10

vs Colts

W

11

at Texans

L

12

vs Titans

L

13

at Bills

L

14

vs Jets

L

15

at Dolphins

W

16

vs Patriots

L

17

at Titans

L

2012 Record

4-12

 

In this scenario, Blaine Gabbert starts the season but shows little to no improvement. The Jaguars may turn to Chad Henne late in the season, but with no shot at the playoffs, the Jaguars prefer to leave Gabbert in to give him a chance to show the team something before the season ends.

How it could happen:

The Jaguars’ season could be derailed for many reasons, but in reality the success of the team in 2012 hinges on the development of Blaine Gabbert. If Blaine Gabbert continues to play at the level he played in 2011, the Jaguars don’t stand a chance. Coupling Gabbert’s struggles with the decline or injury of some of the Jaguars’ older players could spell the end of the Gene Smith era in Jacksonville.

 

The worst-case scenario means we won’t be seeing this handsome devil running the Jaguars in 2013.

The win-loss total for each scenario was somewhat arbitrary, but the point I’m trying to get across is how much Blaine Gabbert will dictate the Jaguars’ success next season. The obvious response is “well, duh the quarterback is the most important position on the field,” and that would be the correct response. With average quarterback play in 2011, the Jaguars could have competed for a playoff spot. If Gabbert can show even marginal improvement, there’s no reason the Jaguars should be below .500.

With all that said, I think the Jaguars’ (overly optimistic) ceiling is 12 wins, and their floor is 4 wins. What do you think? How many games should the Jaguars win in 2012?

 

-Daniel Lago

 

How many games should the Jaguars win in 2012?

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Tags: Aaron Kampman Blaine Gabbert Brad Meester Competition Derek Cox Gene Smith Jacksonville Jaguars Off Season Prediction Preseason Rashean Mathis Tyson Alualu

  • Jason Love

    Really, all its going to take for the Jags to win 8+ games this year is Blaine Gabbert improving. If he’s just 16th ranked, the team will be in the playoffs, I have no doubt. This is assuming that the defense remains the same and the kicking unit is actually better. 

  • Bobbyp84

    I agree with jason. Our downfall was our passing game last year. Think of how many games we would have won if we had 50 more passing yards. Our defense did their job, now its time for our offense to do it. Between our additions to the WR cores and pass rushing, not to mention punting game, I see us raising hell in the afc and getting 12+ games, but once again it comes down to gabbert. This year is his make-or-break year. If he can’t play with these receivers than we need to find a QB that can. But I’m bring him 100%. I followed him in college and defending him here in utah with all the haters. HELP ME PROVE THEM WRONG GABBERT AND GET US TO THE SUPERBOWL!!