Former Missouri Tigers quarterback Blaine Gabbert was clearly selected to be the QB of the future for the Jacksonville Jaguars when his name was selected with the No. 10 choice in the 2011 NFL Draft. A veteran starter stood in his way, however, in the form of David Garrard for what was believed to be at least the next year. Consider that timeline erased. With the release of Garrard rather unexpectedly, Luke McCown is now the only thing that stands in the way of Gabbert’s ascension.
It’s clear that it’s not only general manager Gene Smith who likes Gabbert’s talent at this point. Apparently head coach Jack Del Rio has signed off on the move as well given the hot seat he will feel if the team doesn’t leapfrog the Indianapolis Colts this year with Peyton Manning’s injury. By starting McCown and eventually Gabbert, the Jags are betting that the future is now rather than later.
It’s a poor move from an outsiders perspective, given that Garrard enjoyed a career year last year in passing yards, touchdowns and completion percentage. He also had the respect of his teammates. Now the Jags start with a major question mark right on the eve of the regular season. None of this makes any sense at this point — even if it’s about finances. But some other team will profit from the availability of Garrard, and Gabbert knows he’s already that much closer to the starter’s role.