Blaine Gabbert has been in a tough position since Gene Smith first traded up to get him at the No. 10 spot in the 2011 NFL Draft. As the Jacksonville Jaguars starting quarterback, it's been a nightmare since the moment he first placed the cap on his head signifying his new home and role as the team's offensive leader.
Last season, Gabbert was put through the crucible that few quarterbacks could succeed within without a primary target and such limited options. The Jags were always out of games and Gabbert had little to work with. Then again, he didn't inspire much confidence on his part, however it's hard to do so with the offense they fielded.
Even with the change in coaching staff, the former Mizzou quarterback then had to deal with the recent Tim Tebow rumors that had the Jags interested more than any other team. The team's new owner Shad Khan made public statements that he would go after him, and that's exactly what happened even though they lost out to the Jets. Now that they must turn back to Gabbert, Khan released a statement backing Gabbert heading into the 2012 season:
Earlier this week I asked Gene Smith and his staff to explore the potential of acquiring Tim Tebow. I think we have a duty to consider all avenues of improving the Jaguars on and off the field, especially given the unique circumstances involving the player. I appreciate the high level of due diligence Gene and his staff dedicated to this matter, even as late as this evening, and I am very satisfied with the outcome. Our commitment to developing Blaine Gabbert was, and still is, central to our goal of returning the Jaguars to elite status in the NFL. We’re looking ahead with zero regrets.
I'm not sure the Jags have ever had elite status in the NFL, but his point is taken. Gabbert may or may not be able to get them there, but that won't happen unless the team can firmly back their leader.