Blaine Gabbert is the Jacksonville Jaguars starting quarterback.
That is a statement of absolute fact, despite the very popular opinion of several national media members who seem to have already declared Gabbert’s career dead after the 22-year old quarterback has only started 14 NFL games. They are so sure of the demise of Gabbert that they have spent all offseason talking about Chad Henne assuming the Jaguars starting role as if it is only a matter of time before he takes over.
They are all dead wrong. The only way Henne sees the field this season is if Gabbert gets injured.
Henne already had his time with the Miami Dolphins to show he was capable of being a franchise quarterback. The Dolphins just spent a top-10 draft pick on a new quarterback and let Henne walk this offseason, that should tell you all you need to know about him.
The Jaguars signed Henne because he provided them with a significant upgrade over Luke McCown at the backup quarterback position, there is nothing more to read into this situation.
Jaguars general manager Gene Smith spent all offseason trying to give Gabbert all the tools necessary to evolve into a successful starting quarterback. First they gave him a new coaching staff led by former Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey who have a proven track record for developing young quarterbacks. Then they spent big money on free agent wide receiver Laurent Robinson and spent a top-5 draft pick on Justin Blackmon to improve his receiver corps.
We know Gabbert has the talent to be a successful NFL quarterback, he just has to show that he can stand in the pocket and read a defense and make a good decision. The only way we can know if he is capable of doing that is if he is on the field playing, not standing on the sideline with a clipboard.
Yes, Gabbert is young and he probably needed a year or two on the sideline to learn, but the Jaguars lost that luxury last year when they decided to cut David Garrard a couple of days before the start of the regular season.
Simply put, the Jaguars are all in on making Gabbert the franchise quarterback they traded up to draft in last year’s draft. Benching him for Henne at any point this season would make no sense and would be an admission of failure by Smith that would likely cost him his job at the end of this season.