Exceeding expectations would be an understatement for Blaine Gabbert – at least in my mind. Hitting 81% of his passes, making his receivers look good, stepping up into the pocket; the quarterback we saw on Friday night was not a second year quarterback taking baby steps. The quarterback we saw on Friday night was leaps and bounds above where he was supposed to be.
Gabbert’s final stat line: 13/16, 112 yards, two touchdowns, no picks.
This was all orchestrated against a defense coached by ex-Giants defensive mastermind Steve Spagnuolo. Spags is now coaching the Saints D, a defense that allowed only nine points per game in their previous two bouts. The Jags lit it up for 27 points (taking advantage of some suspect penalties) and managed to best the Saints 27-24.
But the real story was Gabbert and his big arm.
Laurent Robinson didn’t catch a single pass in the game, but Gabbert didn’t need him as he abused the defense with tight end Colin Cloherty and new toy Justin Blackmon. Blackmon had four catches for 48 yards and a touchdown; Cloherty had three for 35 yards and a TD as well. The offense was snapping with Gabbert under center, eating up yards whenever he went back to throw.
A lot of criticism and very low standards have been placed on Gabbert, but it looks like the most critical of his play last year was himself and the highest standards that are being set are his. The Saints defense is not an easy unit to move the ball against, but Gabbert looked like he could have done that for two more quarters had he stayed in the game. Gabbert should find a few more people jumping onto his bandwagon with his performance.
The Blaine Train is boarding and it may get full by the end of the season. Better jump on and sit down next to me.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims