The Jacksonville Jaguars have a new general manager in Dave Caldwell, a new head coach in Gus Bradley and a new logo and uniforms. They aren't the same old Jaguars.
Unless you look at the all-important win/loss column.
Everything in the NFL starts with the quarterback position and the team has failed miserably at identifying talent there.
Their struggles were documented in a Football Insiders story written by Bo Marchionte.
Here's what he had to say:
Jacksonville Jaguars - The first franchise quarterback the Jacksonville Jaguars ever had in Mark Brunell was the last franchise quarterback the team has ever had. His career in Jacksonville spanned from 1995-03 and since that time the team has used three first-round selections on quarterbacks. The list includes Byron Leftwich (2005), Blaine Gabbert (2010) and current starting quarterback Blake Bortles (2014).
Leftwich battled injuries throughout his career in Jacksonville and his absences from games allowed back-up David Garrard to take over as the team’s starting quarterback. He lasted only four seasons in Jacksonville before being cut. In theory, if Leftwich pans out then the Jaguars could have saved two first-round picks that could have been addressed to serve other needs of the team. The reality of it though was Leftwich was not a franchise quarterback and Garrard was not much better.
With Leftwich and Garrard out of the picture, the Jagaurs looked for a upgrade at quarterback in 2011. Jacksonville used the 10th overall selection on Blaine Gabbert, who failed mightily at grasping the position in the NFL after a great college career at Missouri. Gabbert started 27 games (2011-13) for Jacksonville and could only manage to lead them to a 5-22 record. Obviously there was plenty of blame to go round for the team’s lack of success, but the nature of the beast is the quarterback is one of the first to be replaced if the franchise flounders. He is currently the back-up now in San Francisco behind 49ers’ starting quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Striking out on both Leftwich and Gabbert led the Jagaurs to invest their third first-round selection since 2003 on quarterback Blake Bortles. The former Central Florida star struggled early in his rookie season but Bortles showed some positive glimpses of the player Jacksonville envisioned when they selected him with the third overall pick in 2014.
It's tough to argue with any of what was said, and last year's struggles by Bortles made many think of Blaine Gabbert. The most important thing to remember is that Bortles is a completely different guy with a different skill set than Gabbert. Bortles lifted up a mediocre college program in UCF to a Fiesta Bowl Championship. Where Gabbert cowers under pressure, Bortles stands tall in the pocket. Gabbert may have had better mechanics (in practice), everything fell apart in real games. Bortles has worked to improve his mechanics and he has an entirely different character and makeup than Gabbert.
Time will tell whether or not Blake Bortles will become a franchise quarterback or even an average quarterback, because he's not quite there yet.
Still, Dave Caldwell and Gus Bradley deserve the benefit of the doubt.
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