The Jacksonville Jaguars are clearly in a state of unrest. The sale of the team from Wayne Weaver to Shahid Khan was the icing on the cake for a 24-hour period that also included a new three-year deal extending Gene Smith as General Manager and firing long-time Head Coach Jack Del Rio. Given all of the changes, there are a few realities that are clear, and one of them is that Blaine Gabbert will be given every shot to win.
That’s obviously a good thing for Gabbert personally but it might not do the Jags any favors. That’s because Gabbert has already struggled mightily this season with a 2-7 record and a 62.2 passer rating. The team has kept the reins in on Gabbert, and it’s hard to tell whether it’s because he’s a rookie or just because he cannot make the transition. It’s certainly too easy to tell, but other guys with similar results like Jimmy Clausen were given one year and that’s it.
But with Smith, the man who traded up to get Gabbert, in place for a long stretch, it’s clear that Gabbert will be handed to a new coach with the permanent label of “starter” on his jersey. What sort of new coach will want to have to deal with the drama surrounding starting or sitting Gabbert? How can Smith force a poor quarterback play on someone else? Is Gabbert really this bad or is it a total lack of playmakers? Perhaps it’s just a scheme issue?
The problem is that Gabbert is going to have to learn all new plays and terminology with whoever the new coach is. And he’s going to have to sit through all of the media analysis this offseason wondering whether he’s the guy or not. The only thing that will stop the naysayers is for Gabbert to show signs of life now that Del Rio is gone and hope the Jags land a high profile receiver like Justin Blackmon in next year’s draft.