At the end of the Texans/Jaguars game we saw Chad Henne relieve a struggling Blaine Gabbert and complete two beautiful passes and gain three of the nine total first downs on the game during his drive. Immediately after hitting those passes Maurice Jones-Drew suddenly had more room to run. The way I see it, anything Henne can do, Gabbert can do also (well, to an extent).
Gabbert does not have confidence right now. His first game was great, yet against the Texans he could hardly complete passes. Sure, there were a few drops (a couple that definitely should have been caught), but that’s part of the game. Further, the receivers don’t really have momentum after being beat by mostly man coverage throughout the Texans game. Gabbert needs to be given a chance to redeem himself and get that confidence back. It’s time for Bob Bratkowski to do what he does best: call passing plays.
When the Jaguars first hired Bratkowski I was worried that his high number of quarterback attempts per game would backfire and we would end up with an interception-prone young quarterback. But I think it’s time the Jags took a chance and opened it up. The most powerful the team looked last week was when Laurent Robinson snagged a great ball for a 30 yard gain. That play set up a quick touchdown to Maurice Jones-Drew.
No offense to MJD, but it’s time for Gabbert to lead the team. The focus on short routes when our receivers can’t get open killed the passing game against the Texans. It can be argued that the offensive line couldn’t and can’t hold up long enough for deeper routes; while that is true I think some shots have got to be taken. This offense needs to show that it isn’t afraid to move the ball through the air.
What I would like to see is Bratkowski come out trying to beat Jerraud Powers and Vontae Davis right of the bat. Pick one and hit him early and often. Davis had four picks last year for the Dolphins, but Powers only had two. Further, between the two corners they only had 14 passes defensed on the season. I like those odds. I like them even more if Gabbert gets hot early. The Jaguars looked like a team that was scared to keep the ball in Gabbert’s hands for more than two seconds. The Jaguars looked like a team that forgot how to use its receivers. They need to show that the identity of this team goes much further than running the ball and hitting backs coming out of the backfield.
It’s time for Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson to show why they were acquired this offseason. Further, it’s time for Blaine Gabbert to show that he can rebound as an NFL quarterback. Coming out and passing is a great way to do that. It’s also a great way to show that even with a depleted offensive line the team will still take its chances and beat the pass rush. Against Robert Mathis that will show some serious determination from this offense.
I’m all for following the control the clock game plan. I like it, it’s what makes me like football, it’s a sound strategy. But the Jaguars need to show that they have a backup plan and that it can be effective. Bratkowski has done it before with Carson Palmer, and I think he can do it again with Gabbert. The Jags need to set the tone and show that they can move the ball through the air.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims