Love it or Hate it: Blaine Gabbert
By Jason Love
Blaine Gabbert has started two games now, against the Panthers and the Saints. He’s been what a rookie is a rookie is expected to be. Inconsistent. What has Gabbert been doing wrong? What has he been doing right?
Blaine has faced two stiff tests thus far in his young career. Let’s look at the Carolina game first.
Against Carolina, Gabbert dealt with horrendous weather. He was 12/21 for 139 yards, 1 TD and 1 INT. The weather lead to drops and fumbled snaps, which were the theme throughout the game. Gabbert looked poised and confident in the pocket and made some great throws. The game ended with a botched play in the waning seconds of the game not starting when the clock started, causing the Jaguars to miss out on one or two extra plays. So to recap, Gabbert looked good, dealt with drops, had fumblitis and had a center unaware of the clock ticking down. One factor to look at, while the fans were screaming for “balanced” play calling, running the ball was the definite best choice in the game. When the team is getting 4-5 yards a rush play, one screw up can ruin the whole drive. We saw that in the first and beginning of the second half. Run, Fumble, Run,Punt. Run, Run, Drop, Punt. In a conservative offense, the offense must consistently gain steady yards, but I digress. Overall, Gabbert’s first outing was about an 74/100.
Against the Saints, Gabbert came out throwing. He started the game off confident and precise. He was 12/24 in the first half and was plagued by drops by his receivers. I can count two drive killing drops by receivers in the first half. Gabbert threw a beautiful ball to Zach Miller, who made an amazing catch for the touchdown. However, the second half was a different story. Gabbert came out throwing again, however, he felt the rush. Gabbert rushed his throws and lost his poise, throwing behind and over many receivers. He only completed 4/18 in the second half. He again wasn’t helped with drops. He was given opportunities to win the game by the defense, but couldn’t capitalize. I’d split his game into halves. First half Gabbert was an 85/100, while in the second half, Gabbert was a 58/100.
Overview: Gabbert has the tools and shows short bursts of putting it together, but still suffers from rookie-jitters. His biggest problem thus far is something that anyone who studied some of his college tape saw. No, it isn’t his propencity to run when flushed out of the pocket, no, its his inability to keep his footwork controlled when under pressure. I can’t count how many times Gabbert threw off of his back foot only to under or overthrow the ball in the second half. His poise suffered and I have to believe he was feeling the pass rush. He needs to develop some of the poise that Garrard and Leftwich had while under pressure, because as soon as Gabbert sets his feet and throws with the proper form we’ll see many, MANY more throws like the touchdown throw to Miller.
Summation: Give it time people, the kid’s got skills.