Did you know that Blaine Gabbert was actually an effective quarterback after the bye week last season? Seriously. The numbers for Gabbert’s rookie season are regularly thrown out as reason to doubt his skills. Going 210 of 413 (50.8%) for 2214 yards, 12 touchdowns, and 11 picks is nothing to write home about. That said, going a much more impressive 131 of 240 (54.5%) for 1,307 yards, seven touchdowns, and seven picks is a vast improvement over his numbers prior to the bye week: 79 of 173 (45.6%), 907 yards, five touchdowns, and four picks. Of greater note is that his increased play correlated with his final three wins in eight games compared to his one game in the first seven in which he played.
Based on his responsiveness to more coaching based on regular season analysis from last year I think we can expect a modest jump in Gabbert’s numbers again this year. If he increased his completion percentage by 9% again it would be a miracle! I will gladly settle for 3-5%. The most important statistic though may be his increased amount of yardage per game. After averaging a mere 129 yards through seven games in 2011 Gabbert jumped up to a much better 163. That 34 yard increase could do wonders for Gabbert who is currently averaging only 159 yards per game.
At this point it is fairly obvious that Gabbert is not Drew Brees. It’s also fairly obvious that he is more of a liability tan he is an asset to this team. Will he forever be a game manager? Will he forever be a mixed bag in terms of results? Will his trend of losing games continue his whole career? These are all questions that we cannot answer at this point. We can, however, expect a step up following the bye week.
Gabbert won’t suddenly join the upper echelon of quarterbacks if his passing percentage increases 3-5% and his yards per game go up by about 30. He won’t be anything more than average.
But that step up is something. Right now that’s a lot better than nothing.
Who knows, maybe he will get considerably better following this year’s bye.
Here’s to hoping.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims