Ready or Not, Here Comes Gabbert
When the Jaguars traded up in the first round to select quarterback Blaine Gabbert, everyone aside from David Garrard and a few of his head-in-the-sand supporters knew that Gabbert would be the starting quarterback at some point in the 2011 season. Without any offseason workouts, Gabbert's growth was obviously set back but there was no doubt he was going to get reps this season.
When Luke McCown was named starting quarterback, he along with everyone else knew that the move was a temporary one and it was his job by the narrowest margins to lose. Sunday's horrific game by McCown only kept the inevitable from being prolonged and it proved that the Jaguars really aren't a team that can contend this year, as their weaknesses at wide receiver, offensive line and safety were clearly exposed.
With the Jaguars not being a legitimate playoff contender, it only makes sense that Gabbert gets real time reps to get his inevitable "rookie mistakes" out of the way. Is Blaine ready? That's the $12 million question, but in reality what difference does it make as long as the line can protect him?
According to Alfie Crow of Big Cat Country.com, Blaine Gabbert will make his first NFL start Sunday afternoon when the Jaguars take on the Carolina Panthers.
The Jaguars have too many holes to fill to be contenders in 2011 so they need to get Gabbert as much work as possible. The sooner he plays, the better his relationships with the rest of his team will be as a leader and the sooner the front office will know if he can be what they expected when they drafted him.
Is Blaine more prepared to be an NFL starter than two weeks ago when Jack Del Rio declared Luke McCown the starter? Probably not, but what other choice does the team really have?
McCown Was Awful but they Made the Right Move
On Sunday Luke McCown played what was likely the worst game of his life. It may have been the worst game of most NFL quarterbacks lives as he completed just 6 of 19 passes for 59 yards, no touchdowns and four- count 'em four interceptions for a quarterback rating of.....1.8.
The poor play made it pretty easy for Jack Del Rio to make the move to rookie Blaine Gabbert, a move that many speculated should have happened at the beginning of the season. After McCown's horrific performance, some less knowledgeable fans and media types were pointing to David Garrard's release as a mistake.
Jack Del Rio stands by his decision.
"It's not like keeping David (Garrard) was going to be a guarantee that we wouldn't have substandard quarterback play," Del Rio said.
The Jaguars head coach was absolutely correct, and Garrard has had his share of four turnover games, four to be exact. The quarterback "competition" was never between Garrard and Gabbert, but between Garrard and McCown and the Jaguars knew they could get just as good of a player, if not better for considerably less money.
Garrard's atrocious preseason and practice play left the team no choice.
As bad as McCown was, try to think about the fact that he won the job in training camp as he was clearly better than David Garrard. The Jaguars now hope they can begin the future and try to forget the last five years of mediocre to poor quarterback play.
Charlie Bernstein is the NFL Insider for ESPN 1080 and 1040 in Orlando/Tampa and the host of "The Sports Crunch" on the Aquarius 7 Broadcasting Network (national), and Editor-in-Chief of Sports Media Interactive, covering multiple teams in the National Football League, NCAA, and National Basketball Association. Charlie covers the Jacksonville Jaguars for FoxSports and has been featured on the NFL Network and Sirius NFL Radio. Charlie is also a member of the Pro Football Writers of America. You can follow Charlie on Twitter @nflcharlie
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