Blaine Gabbert: Just A Bandaid In 2013?


Oct 28, 2012; Green Bay, WI, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) lines up under center Brad Meester (63) during the game against the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field. The Packers defeated the Jaguars 24-15. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The Jacksonville Jaguars seem committed to quarterback Blaine Gabbert.  Well, at least they seem committed to giving him a fair shake in a competition against other quarterbacks.  New head coach Gus Bradley and new general manager Dave Caldwell have no loyalty to Gabbert but they continue to show support and issue positive statements about him.  As good as coach speak sounds at this point, the Jaguars are making so much noise this offseason that fans of other teams have taken notice.

12th Man Rising editor Keith Myers took a stab at the Gabbert situation from his pulpit at Fansided’s Seattle Seahawks blog.  He compared Gabbert to Tarvaris Jackson in Seattle as a piece that’s simply there for a year while the rest of the team is rebuilt.  That may be the most truth spoken about Gabbert yet this offseason.  With all the hubbub about how great things will be in future, we often lose sight of which players will be with us in the future.

Another aspect of Myers’ piece is the Jaguars’ emphasis on analytics.  He cited the now common knowledge that Gabbert was significantly better with 2.6 or more seconds to throw the ball.  This was covered by B&T earlier this week.  Whether it is easier on pass protectors to protect for a quarterback who can get the ball out at 2.5 seconds or faster or that the a quick read and releas quarterback simply makes the offensive line’s number look better is up for debate.  But what isn’t is that most quarterbacks throwing before 2.6 seconds are not very good.  The notable exceptions with less time than Gabbert are Tom Brady and Peyton Manning.

Myers advocates that the analytics used by the Jaguars weren’t as in-depth as we think.  Here’s an excerpt from his story:

"If the conclusion is that Gabbert regularly faced too much pressure, that should show up in the stats as well, but it doesn’t. Gabbert was only under pressure for 32.7% of his throws. While that sounds like a lot, there were 16 quarterbacks who faced pressure on a higher percentage of throws.The problem wasn’t that Gabbert couldn’t perform under pressure. His completion percentage when under pressure was actually the best in the NFL in 2012 (57.7%). His accuracy when under pressure was also good at 70.8%, 6th best in the NFL. Pressure, it seems, wasn’t the problem."

Here at B&T we noted Gabbert’s better play under pressure when we analyzed the 2012 season position by position.  It was a surprising variable in a terrible season by Gabbert.  Myers notes it as not being a problem, and I agree, so where is the problem?

To Myers the problem is simply the quarterback and it won’t be solved with a new right tackle like Luke Joeckel.  To me, I see it as a problem with forcing the ball out too soon because of the perception of inevitable pressure.  So many of Gabbert’s passes were dumpoffs last season because his receivers were not always able to get open quickly and because the pressure was seemingly inevitable.  For a player that has been sacked 62 times in 24 games, I don’t blame him for a getting a little antsy.

Am I expecting Gabbert to turn into Tom Brady in 2013?  No.  Do I expect him to get better?  Absolutely.  2013 will determine if Gabbert really is just a bandaid in the grand schemes of Bradley and Caldwell or if he can be something more.

– Luke N. Sims

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