Oct 21, 2012; Oakland, CA, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) throws a pass against the Oakland Raiders at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee/Image of Sport-US PRESSWIRE

Blaine Gabbert Will Be Above Average

The Packers game resulted in a loss, but the loss came when the Jags were competitive.  I heard over and over again about how the Packers were short six starters in the game, but not once did they mention that the Jaguars were also sitting six starters.  Daryl Smith, Clint Session, Dwight Lowery, Derek Cox, Maurice Jones-Drew, and Laurent Robinson all didn’t see the field on Sunday.  So, despite the constant talk about how terrible the Packers passing offense is without their two top receiving targets, we didn’t get a chance to hear about how the Jags were moving the ball so effectively without Robinson and MJD.

Blaine Gabbert is maturing much faster after the bye week.  Source: Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE

Let’s connect the dots here.  Aaron Rodgers was 22/35 for 186 yards and two touchdowns.  This is attributed to the loss of his top receiving targets.  Those numbers look pretty similar to what Gabbert produces weekly and his top targets are about as bad as the third stringers for the Pack.  Gabbert gets a lot of crap for being inaccurate, but most of the balls on Sunday were about as well thrown as they could be.  Further, it’s almost a week in, week out problem getting Jaguars receivers to hold onto the ball.

It’s safe to say that we now know why Gabbert was always checking down to Jones-Drew.  When your receivers don’t catch you want to put the ball in the hands of the player that will almost certainly catch it.

When the Jags opened up their offense against the Packers (against a depleted secondary of course) the team looked like a pro football team.  No longer did they look like the high school squad we’ve seen for the majority of the season.  This team, and Gabbert, looked much better than below average.  In fact, they looked above average.  That all starts with the quarterback.

Gabbert went 27/49 (55%) for 303 yards and a score on Sunday.  To give you an idea of how much better that was than during the rest of the season, Gabbert’s 303 yards is 33.4% of his total yardage through the first six games.  If it wasn’t for his torn labrum he probably could have done the same last week.  Gabbert’s 413 yards over the past two games is 34% of his total yardage on the season.  His 57.3 completion percentage over those same two games is two points higher than his season average.  With his better play over the last two weeks he has now moved to 28th in the league in completion percentage, tied with Andrew Luck and ahead of Josh Freeman, Mark Sanchez, and Brandon Weeden.  It may not be the company he wants to keep, but at least he’s improving.

Right now, during the past couple games and the next few we may be witnessing the emergence of Gabbert as an above average quarterback.  He is playing more decisively, delivering better strikes down field, and he is showing that he has the ability to turn his physical tools into production.

It’s too early to welcome him home each week with a parade, but it’s looking more and more like he’s on the right track.

- Luke N. Sims

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Tags: Aaron Rodgers Blaine Gabbert Green Bay Packers Jacksonville Jaguars

  • Evan Whitney

    We can’t take one or one and a half games and say a guy is improving. As an NFL QB you should have a few games here and there. There are certain QB’s who tend to be slurped by local and sometimes national media and others who are thrown under the bus immediately. Gabbert (from the articles I’ve read this year) is constantly slurped. One 300 yard game? Against the second worst defense they have played so far? Behind the Colts. And you want to say just like that he is going to be above average? Chad Henne has had 7 career 300 yard games with a % above 60. Including a 400 yard game. All that with a team similar to Gabbert. A lot of drops and terrible play calling and special teams. And yet Chad Henbe is practically being given no hope to ever again be a starter.

    • http://www.facebook.com/keenan.jones.1806 Keenan Jones

      How can we not take this past one and half games as a show of improvement? Was it a vast improvement? No. But one worth noting? I’d say so. As you said, every QB should have a game here and there, but this isn’t the case. It’s a matter of back to back weeks of him being better than we’ve known him to be. I’m not ready to annoint him as the savior of the franchise just yet, but he has earned the right to be given slight praise for his efforts these past two weeks. You saying that he did it against the second worst defense that he’s played doesn’t change, nor does it take away from his performances. If the NFL has proven nothing, it has shown that there isn’t usually the biggest of difference between the worst and the best as it appears to be. Point being, that fact that he did it against any NFL defense is what’s important, rather than which defense that was.

      As far as Henne goes, I don’t think anyone is saying that he has no chance to ever be a starter again in the league, just not a starter for us. Blaine is more naturally talented than Chad and there’s not much argument that can be had to the contrary. Blaine is currently our present and most likely, will be our forseeable future best option at the position. Henne isn’t the answer and that much I think we all can agree on.

      • Evan Whitney

        No doubt every game has to be noted. I fully agree with you on that. But my comment was not meant to undermine the significance of the game. It was meant to undermine the authors title. “Blaine Gabbert will be an above average QB”. To make that assumption off of one game (I don’t count the game against the Raiders because it was very seldom playing time) is a ridiculous statement. You cannot take 1 game against 21 and make such a large statement.

        • http://www.facebook.com/keenan.jones.1806 Keenan Jones

          You’re right, the title of the article is a bit hasty in it’s presumption, but it does beg us to ask a question. Do we believe this is something that Blaine will be capable of on a consistent basis? As you said, during the Raiders game he played sparingly, yet that first half was followed up the next week against the Packers. While a small sample size, again as you said, against the past 21 games we had to base him off of, it does provide a little merit to the proclamtion being made here. As it stands, this discussion will probably be best served to be had at the end of the season. More so than anything, I think this article points to something that we didn’t have 3 weeks ago. There’s hope.