Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert left Sunday’s loss to the St. Louis Rams early with a hamstring injury, but he was playing so poorly that the coaching staff may have pulled him in favor of Chad Henne anyways. Now the team expects Gabbert to miss this Sunday’s game against the Denver Broncos and is calling his injury “week to week”, but even when healthy is he going to get another chance to start?
Coming out of college, the scouts loved Gabbert’s physical tools and it was why he was widely considered a first-round pick. Yes, Gabbert possesses the ideal size and arm strength for an NFL quarterback and by all accounts he puts in the work during the week, but he lacks a key skill that cannot be coached. The truth is that Gabbert has absolutely no pocket awareness, meaning he feels pressure that isn’t there and leaves the pocket too early way too often. There were several big plays left on the field Sunday because Gabbert did not let the play develop because he thought he was under pressure.
Henne is likely going to start this Sunday and the Jaguars offense is not significantly better with him on the field, but he will stand in the pocket and deliver the ball down the field unlike Gabbert. Henne has his flaws, staring down receivers and taking too many sacks, but this offense has a chance to succeed if they have anybody playing quarterback that is willing to stand in the pocket and deliver the ball down the field.
I don’t think we have seen the last of Gabbert in 2013, but it is going to be hard for the coaching staff to justify bringing him back if Henne is playing just average football because everything we have seen from Gabbert this season has been awful to say the least. My guess is that Gabbert’s hamstring injury lingers just as long as Henne is playing decent football.
You can follow Joey on twitter @joeyfarbo.