I’m certain Blaine Gabbert is a good guy. Truly, he seems like a nice guy. But nice guys don’t win games. Good football players win games.
But it isn’t the lack of wins or Gabbert’s general shortcomings that make me hate him. It is the roller coaster ride of expectation and failure that makes me hate Blaine Gabbert. You can chalk it up to falling for coach speak each year, but it’s about more than that.
The last two seasons I haven’t had high expectations for Gabbert heading into the offseason. After he was drafted in 2011 he was expected to sit behind Luke McCown and David Garrard. The talk about how big his arm was and how he impressed in practices were just exciting, fleeting glimpses of the first round pick who was the future of the Jacksonville Jaguars. With each short report about Gabbert, the expectations rose.
In his first season, after taking over starting duties in week three, Gabbert was a disappointment. He wasn’t anything as advertised. He was scared in the pocket, he was inaccurate in his throws, and he wasn’t showing the leadership that his good background was supposed to give him. The expectations weren’t high for Gabbert in 2011, but he still fell short of the low standard I had set for him. It wasn’t the pedestrian numbers that bothered me, it was the complete lack of spark that let me down.
As 2012 rolled around a bubble began to build around Gabbert. There were still questions whether he could make the jump to be a starting NFL quarterback but things were looking up. The front office was spending like they were only a couple pieces away from competing. The 2012 NFL Draft brought Gabbert a new weapon who promised to be effective. But most importantly, the Jaguars brought in a staff designed to nurture Gabbert’s growth.
Mike Mularkey and Bob Bratkwoski raised expectations beyond what they should have been. It was only a matter of time until the bubble burst. Surprisingly the bubble didn’t burst in week one. Gabbert’s deep game-tying throw to Cecil Shorts III was enough for us to give him a pass, even if the Jaguars did lose the game. The letdown came the next week in Houston when Gabbert passed for just 56 yards and completed a pitiful 36% of his passes.
The letdown proved to be rock bottom for Gabbert thus far in his career. Which brings me back to expectation.
I know, based on the past, that I shouldn’t get my hopes up, but if Gabbert was so bad in his second year he can only get better, right? The Jaguars didn’t draft a quarterback so Gabbert really has a shot to make a leap in year three, right? Look at Ace Sanders, he’s got to make Gabbert better, right?
Maybe. But it’s thoughts like this that make me hate Blaine Gabbert. My hopes will inevitably rise again this offseason and, like a tidal wave, they will likely crash again. This roller coaster ride needs to stop.
– Luke N. Sims
You can also find me on Twitter @LukeNSims