After a career year in 2010 that earned him a lucrative contract extension, tight end Marcedes Lewis has struggled the past two seasons to make an impact in the passing game. Part of the blame falls on the laughable rotation the Jaguars have fielded at right tackle and another part falls squarely on the shoulders of Blaine Gabbert.
The tandem of Guy Whimper and Cameron Bradfield at right tackle over the last two years has essentially required Marcedes Lewis to become the de facto sixth offensive lineman along the right side. Caldwell mercifully released Guy Whimper and replaced him with the second overall pick in this year’s draft – Luke Joeckel.
With Lewis finally free to run routes and integrate into the passing game, the burden of opening up the offense is focused on Blaine Gabbert. While Blaine has plenty of doubters in the media and in Jacksonville, Lewis feels that Gabbert has taken a step forward and is ready validate his top ten draft selection.
“So far this year, from OTAs and quarterback school and being there, he’s [Gabbert] taken that step forward. And I’m proud of him because regardless of what others may think, I know how hard it is for him and I know that he puts a lot of pressure on himself to be great.”
There are numerous ways one can critique Blaine Gabbert’s performance so far in the league, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who doubts his work ethic. Gabbert’s situation so far in the NFL has been anything but ideal and he’s dealt with it in a commendable manner.
I won’t argue that Gabbert has earned the trust of the new front office, but Gabbert did show decided improvement from year 1 to year 2. His Pro Football Focus overall grade increased from a deplorable (-49.2) in his rookie season to a significantly less abhorrent (-4.3) last year. He increased his completion percentage from 50.8% to 58.3% and his yards/attempt from 5.3 to 6.0. Both numbers still need to improve to reach the “Mendoza Line” of a starting NFL quarterback, but it seems he at least has a vote of confidence from his Pro Bowl tight end.
- Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89