Going into the 2012 season, Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne were firmly entrenched as the first and second string quarterbacks, respectively. There really wasn’t any consideration made into keeping a third quarterback on the roster to start the season.
Given the situation going into the 2012 season, that made sense. Gene Smith just drafted Justin Blackmon and signed Laurent Robinson in free agency in an attempt to surround Blaine Gabbert with weapons to take the next step. It was clear that Gene Smith was doubling down on his investment in Gabbert and consequently hired a coach in Mike Mularkey who was willing to develop the young quarterback.
The point here is that Gabbert was the clear-cut starter going into 2012. Chad Henne was signed to be the backup quarterback. In retrospect this was a hysterically delusional move, as Gene Smith thought the team was on the verge of competing for the playoffs and signing a high-priced backup quarterback was a sound investment.
Going into the 2013 season, the situation and the variables are completely different. Blaine Gabbert is not the clear-cut starter. There is a legitimate open competition for the starting quarterback job, as there is for almost every position. David Caldwell and Gus Bradley have no reason to not to give every quarterback on the roster a chance to start.
There are five quarterbacks currently on the roster. Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne were carried over from the debacle that was the 2012 roster; Matt Scott and Aaron Rodgers are undrafted free agents who slipped out of the draft for numerous reasons; Mike Kafka was claimed after the New England Patriots cut him. While it may seem like lip service, Gus Bradley has already said every player has the opportunity to claim the starting job. David Caldwell even stated recently that Mike Kafka can win the job despite only jumping into the fray in the last few weeks.
The ideal scenario for this team is to cut Chad Henne and take three quarterbacks on the roster going into the season. I still think Gabbert will start the season as the first string quarterback, but history suggests he won’t perform well enough to keep starting throughout the season. If that’s the case, it would be good for the Jaguars to have options behind him. If the Jaguars are at the point where they need to bench Gabbert this season, there’s nothing to lose in seeing what the other young quarterbacks on the roster can do. Don’t be surprised to see Matt Scott and Mike Kafka both make it past the final cuts.
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