The NFL season got fully underway Sunday, which probably means nothing for the Jacksonville Jaguars and their fan base. It was a beat down in the season opener, 28-2, to the Kansas City Chiefs, as things haven’t seemed to change much over the course of the offseason.
If we got anything out of the poor performance, it’s that it is time to move on from third-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
After an offseason to try and get things moving in the right direction, Gabbert turned in another subpar outing, going 16-35 for 121 yards and two picks with a 30.8 quarterback rating. He was replaced late by Chad Henne. But by that time, it didn’t matter. Not to say it was entirely Gabbert’s fault, because you can’t pin a horrible performance as a whole on one player.
The offensive line couldn’t keep the pass rushers out of the backfield, as Gabbert was sacked a total of six times. Maurice Jones-Drew was average in his return to the field with 45 yards on 15 carries, which can also be credited to the offensive line being porous.
The defense played admirably, allowing 291 yards and 28 points, which could have been lower if it weren’t for Gabbert’s ineffectiveness and two turnovers.
But that’s enough about the rest of the team. This is about the third-year quarterback who was supposed to be the franchise player when they took him No.10 overall in 2011. Since then he has done nothing to prove he was worthy of that pick. Over his two full seasons and Sunday’s game, Gabbert has thrown 21 touchdowns with 19 picks and has a career rating of just 70.2.
At this point in his career, he shouldn’t be continuing to make the mistakes he is. Accuracy is paramount to a quarterback’s success in the NFL and Gabbert has struggled with it mightily. He had a completion percentage of 50.8 in his rookie year, but did improve it to 58.3 in 2012. In his third year, you’d expect to see more improvement in that area, but he finished Sunday’s game with a lowly 45.7 percent completion rate.
Maybe some of it has to do with a lack of a premiere receiving core, but let’s not kid ourselves, Gabbert is just not the answer for the Jaguars and it’s becoming more and more obvious with each lopsided loss and poor showings. The franchise used to be very respectable, but things are heading in the wrong direction. Henne gives them a better chance to win going forward and should make the start next week if the Jaguars’ coaching staff has any aspirations of winning, much less just being competitive.
The clock is ticking on Gabbert’s time under center in Jacksonville.