Two weeks into the season and the question will start to be thrown out, so it is a good time to analyze whether Blaine Gabbert’s progress has been good enough to keep Chad Henne away from the starting quarterback job. While the injury to Gabbert’s leg (thigh) is unclear and the impact is currently unknown, the small amount of playing time gave Henne a chance to show why he was such a good insurance prospect.
Henne went 2/2 upon entering the game for 23 yards. In contrast, Gabbert went 7/19 for 53 yards and one touchdown. While Henne was playing in garbage time, it begs the question if he could have moved the ball better against the Houston defense than Gabbert did during his 3 1/2 quarters. Gabbert was unable to capitalize against the opposition and looked like his terrible rookie season was haunting him throughout the game.
When the injury report finally comes out, the coaches in Jacksonville may have a conundrum on their hands. If Gabbert is ruled out they will be able to look at what they have in Henne and whether he could be the starter they need at this point. If Gabbert’s injury is not very serious it will be interesting to see if the coaches would rather see what they have in Henne all the same. The investment in Gabbert may rule the possibility out, but the poise and experience of Henne may be enough to convince the coaches to open up the position.
Going into the season it was difficult to imagine that Gabbert would regress as badly as he did in the Texans game. It could have been the excellent defensive play or it could have been entirely due to Gabbert’s inability to effectively coordinate the offense. While the national media was busy bashing Gabbert again and again over his rookie season, there was some real progress occurring during training camp and the preseason. Conversely, Henne did nothing to turn heads during his time on the field.
The positive for Gabbert is that he has protected the ball (for the most part) and has no interceptions on the season with three touchdowns. It would be tough to see the team captain on the sidelines, especially considering the progress he has made.
What do you think?
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims