I don’t know about you, but I’m tired of seeing Blaine Gabbert check down to his running backs. The receivers need to find ways to get open more and Gabbert needs to be more willing to take shots downfield. Of Gabberts 23 completions against the Bengals, nine (39%) went to either Maurice Jones-Drew or Greg Jones. At the end of the game it seemed like Gabbert and the offense as a whole had completely given up on trying to pass the ball deep on the outside. On fourth down it was a checkdown to MJD. On third down it was a short pass. It’s time for this offense to get more explosive and focus more on making strides rather than trying to make sure Gabbert’s completion percentage is above 50%.
There’s something great about watching a young quarterback sling it across the field. Right now we’re watching our young quarterback look downfield and then quickly look to his safety valve. Heck, sometimes he even skips that first step. It’s nice that Gabbert completed 67% of his passes and only has one interception on the season, but when the offense’s one goal is seemingly to get the ball to the backs as much as possible there is very little production.
While I understand that coverage doesn’t always hold up and I understand that the offensive line hasn’t exactly given Gabbert a ton of time (sacked six times on Sunday), this offense needs to find some scheme that enables plays to be made and playmakers like Justin Blackmon to get involved. Blackmon more than doubled his current season production with six catches on Sunday but has not been as effective as anticipated. Some of that is due to drops, lack of concentration, and poor route running. The route running can be improved by better coaching.
Maybe I’m going crazy and just want to see some little bit of potential exposed in the wide receivers and the play calling, but this checking down to the running backs on almost every play needs to stop – it’s obviously not winning football games.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims