This question will hang over the Jaguars for the rest of the season, if not the next year or two. It has come down to the final six games and an answer needs to be had at quarterback. Do you stick with the second-year hope of the franchise in Blaine Gabbert or do you jump ship and stick it out with backup Chad Henne? In both quarterbacks you have inconsistency and room to grow. Behind both you have seen the team languish. So, who do you start against the Titans?
Chad Henne’s monster 354 yard, four touchdown performance on Sunday may win out over the 1-8 record posted by Gabbert. But was it really Henne who was doing these things?
Gabbert and Henne both throw a good ball. It’s off target sometimes and it can come out a tad late from both of them. We’ve seen Henne do just as Gabbert does (the Oakland game comes to mind) and we’ve seen Gabbert do like Henne (The Vikings game comes to mind). Both of these quarterbacks are ridiculously inconsistent. Where they are both similar is that they don’t have the offense 100% under their control. For Gabbert, that comes in form of pocket presence and down-field awareness. For Henne, that comes in the form of pocket presence and overall management.
The Jaguars burned two early timeouts under Henne. He let go of the ball a bit too late on a few throws. Gabbert usually fails to keep his eyes downfield and dumps the ball off. Gabbert also tends to let the ball out a tad late (see how he got injured on Sunday).
I think that Gabbert could have done a lot of what Henne did against the Texans this week. It really seemed like they were sleep walking through the game. Justin Blackmon and Cecil Shorts provided a large amount of yards after the catch to pad Henne’s numbers. This will happen when your receivers have extra room to catch the ball like the Jaguars’ did on Sunday. Blackmon looked really, really good because the coverage he was getting was pretty similar to college. On the harder catches there was still some hesitation and I counted two balls that he should have caught (one in the endzone) that he didn’t. Shorts’ yardage has helped pad Gabbert’s numbers in the past and his great ability to streak down the field helped Henne this week.
The options for the Jaguars right now are limited. You either start your potential future or you start a man who many consider to be a journeyman. Personally, I don’t think it matters. I think both players are good – yes, I said it – and I think that both should be back with the team next year to duke it out. Gabbert deserves another shot if only because he is showing development. Henne deserves a shot because with each week he is getting older but right now he could be just about ready for the prime of his career and the Jaguars need to move on him if they want to keep him around.
It’s a tough decision I’m glad no armchair GM has to make.
I’d take Gabbert mostly because I have grown fond of him since he’s been here. I didn’t like Henne in Miami and I think he is a good backup at best. I won’t rule him out because he is still young(ish) and has some potential.
- Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims