Gabbert Benched, Remains Starter

Did Jack Del Rio do more harm than good when he exiled Blaine Gabbert to the bench for the end of Sunday's 20-13 loss to Houston?

The Jaguars hope to show Monday night they still are ready for prime time.

One of their three victories this year was a 12-7 win over Baltimore in a Monday night home game in October.

Now they play their second Monday night home game against the Chargers this week.

At 3-8, the Jaguars have been mathematically eliminated from the AFC South race and have little chance of making the playoffs.

In the final five games, they hope rookie Blaine Gabbert will find a groove at quarterback after he was yanked for Luke McCown in the fourth quarter against Houston.

The Jaguars were trailing 20-10 when McCown came in with 7:03 left in the game. McCown led Jacksonville on a drive that resulted in a field game and had a fourth-and-2 situation at the Houston 40 with 1:16 left on the next drive. McCown got a big rush and couldn't connect with Mike Thomas, and the Jaguars again fell short.

When coach Jack Del Rio was asked which quarterback would start against the Chargers, he said, "Blaine's our starting quarterback."

However, he left himself with plenty of wiggle room when he added, "Until I tell you otherwise."

When he was asked if he might say otherwise this week, he said, "You know how I operate. If I have something to tell you, I'll tell you."

Even if Gabbert starts against San Diego, Del Rio has now shown he is ready to pull the rookie if Gabbert doesn't produce.

Del Rio has a history of making last-minute decisions regarding his quarterback. He cut Byron Leftwich nine days before the start of the 2007 season and cut David Garrard five days before the start of this season.

When Gabbert was yanked, he had a 44.6 passer rating and had completed 13 of 29 passes for 136 yards. He was sacked six times and threw a costly interception that set up a Houston field goal.

Gabbert was the victim of a Marcedes Lewis end-zone drop in the second quarter that cost the Jaguars a touchdown, but he was also off target on several passes.

McCown came in and had a 78.6 passer rating. He completed seven of 11 passes for 62 yards and was sacked once.

Of being pulled, Gabbert said, "As a competitive guy, you never want to be pulled, but that's out of my control. "

Responding to Del Rio's comment that he's still the starter, Gabbert said, "I know my position on this football team. I know what I have to do to win games, plain and simple, and I'm not doing that right now."

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