Dec 1, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) and quarterback Chad Henne (7) prior to the game against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
The Jacksonville Jaguars drafted Blaine Gabbert in 2011 with the intention of developing him into a franchise quarterback. As the 2013 season closed this past Sunday, Blaine Gabbert carried the following career statistics:
- 53.3% completion
- 5.6 yards per attempt average
- 22:24 Touchdown to interception ratio
- 74 sacks
- 5-22 record as a starter
Three years under three head coaches didn’t do Gabbert any favors, but he certainly showed enough to warrant moving on. As a result, Chad Henne unseated him as the starter for the second season in a row.
Over the last two seasons, 5 of the Jaguars 6 wins have come with Chad Henne behind center. The other win required Gabbert to make a miraculous throw to Cecil Shorts against the Colts in 2012. Still, 5 wins over two seasons is not desirable. While Henne served as an upgrade over the historically incompetent Gabbert, he didn’t provide the level of play necessary to elevate a bad team.
So with all that in mind, how do the Jaguars approach the quarterback position – and specifically Chad Henne – going into 2013?
I think the first step is obvious – cut Blaine Gabbert. Gabbert has had 27 starts to show he can develop into a functional quarterback. He might be the worst starting quarterback in the modern era and his rate of improvement has been disturbingly slow. He clearly isn’t in the team’s future plans and he has absolutely no trade value. He’s a relic from a dark era (Gene Smith) and has zero support anymore on the team or in the front office.
David Caldwell will almost assuredly draft a quarterback early in May, and whoever they pick should probably start right away. Jedd Fisch has a very QB friendly offense and has shown the ability to adapt the scheme for his players. So with a rookie starting, what role does Henne have? Well he’s proven himself to be something Gabbert isn’t – a competent backup. His performance last year in Houston when he exploded for 400 yards showed what he’s capable of off the bench. He’s not a transcendent talent by any means, but he can handle an offense for 4 quarters and occasionally make big throws.
The stink of disappointment and incompetence from the Gene Smith era doesn’t seem to linger on Henne as much as it does on Gabbert. If the Jaguars can secure Henne to a two-year deal and have him act as a veteran presence for our young QB next year then Caldwell should make the move.
– Daniel Lago
Yell at me on Twitter @dlago89