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
As much as i’m sure the Jaguars fan base (including myself) would like to see a different signal caller under center next season, there is now reason to believe that the Blaine Gabbert/Chad Henne era has not ended yet.
Blaine Gabbert was the opening day starter at quarterback. Due to injuries and ineffectiveness, Gabbert played in just 3 games this season. While on the field Gabbert posted horrific numbers completing 42 of 86 passes for 481 yards with a single touchdown and 7 interceptions. Gabbert also turned in a passer rating of 36.1 and a QBR of 1.8, (QBR is on a scale of 0-100).
Chad Henne started the season as the backup to Gabbert, until Henne proved through his own less than stellar game that he was the better starting option. Henneended the season as the starter, and started 13 of the 15 games he played in. Henne managed to end the season with below average numbers completing 305 of his 503 passing attempts for 3241 yards, 13 touchdowns, and 14 interceptions. Henne also carried a passer rating of 76.5 and his 31.9 QBR ranked 36th out of the 39 quarterbacks who qualified.
So why bring them back? Henne, is a free agent this offseason. Whereas Gabbert still has a year left on his rookie contract.
Common speculation says that one or both players will not return for the 2014 season. Whether you believed him or not General Manager David Caldwell has already said that he would like for both Henne and Gabbert to return, and both players have also expressed interest in returning. Caldwell has also said that if they are not interested in any available quarterback while they are drafting, that it is possible the Jaguars will not take a QB.
It becomes difficult to buy into what Caldwell is saying considering how the last 2 seasons have gone for the Jags. However if a QB is drafted the player most likely will not be ready to start right away, so a veteran will be needed. If you take a look at the available free agent quarterbacks this offseason, you will have a hard time finding a guy capable of being a starter. And thus far, Caldwell has given us no reason to not believe him.
Oct 27, 2013; London, United Kingdom; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert (11), Chad Henne (7) and Maurice Jones-Drew (32) react during the NFL International Series game against the San Francisco 49ers at Wembley Stadium. The 49ers defeated the Jaguars 42-10. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
The way things have looked thus far the team believes that Hennes’ future with the team is nothing more than a veteran backup/spot starter or someone who could help develop a young quarterback and start until the young QB is ready..
Gabbert on the other hand has been praised by coaches who are saying that Gabbert has taken a step forward in his development since being demoted to backup. Offensive Coordinator Jedd Fisch has also said regarding Gabbert “I can’t say it’s over for someone who hasn’t hit his 25th birthday yet.”
It is very difficult to believe that the Jaguars will not take a quarterback in May, but from the way the Jaguars decision makers are talking, we could very well have another season with Gabbert and Henne under center.