|Blaine Gabbert will have to show Gene Smith some form of tangible development soon if he wants to keep his job as the Jaguars' starting quarterback.|
It's easy to blame Jack Del Rio or Dirk Koetter for the Jaguars' offensive struggles this season. That comes as no surprise to anyone that those guys would be attacked. The fact of the matter is that players aren't making plays. If that's the coaches' faults, shame on them, but there's an issue that's beginning to gain serious relevance that I can't ignore any longer.
The Jaguars sit at 3-9, the 4th worst record in the NFL. The Jaguars' record is mostly the result of an offensive unit that can't move the ball down the field in chunks. The Jags rely too heavily on slow, steady drives. While it's possible to win games that way, the Jaguars haven't been able to sustain drives long enough to score on long drives on a consistent basis.
That's on Blaine Gabbert.
I can here the boo birds already getting riled up, but the fact of the matter is that the Jaguars offense is terrible. I find myself shaking my head every time Gabbert steps into a sack or flinches as a defender bears down on him. His performances are almost laughable at this point.
I can sit here and say that I hope Mel Tucker becomes the Jaguars' new head coach, but I don't see that happening. I can say that I don't like Dirk Koetter, but he's not the problem either. The problem is that the Jaguars haven't had a true "franchise" quarterback since Mark Brunell left. As an aside, the Jaguars got rid of him far too soon.
The issue that's cropping up is the possibility of the Jaguars to take a top-ranked quarterback in April. We can't ignore the situation any longer, especially with the state of the secondary. Let's face it, the time for the Jaguars defense to win games for their offense is probably out at this point. I even wonder if the Jaguars can beat the Colts in week 17.
The Jaguars outrank only 3 teams in the league. The Colts will almost certainly draft Andrew Luck. The Rams will either trade down or draft pieces to help their young quarterback, Sam Bradford. The Vikings will likely do the same for Christian Ponder. Then there's the Jaguars.
It's entirely possible at this point that the Jaguars could hold the 4th pick, if not higher, of the 2012 NFL draft. With that pick, the Jaguars could be picking either Matt Barkley or Robert Griffin III, both highly graded quarterback prospects. The question the Jaguars front office has to answer is; when is it time to give up on Blaine Gabbert?
I am leaning towards the side of drafting a new guy. A new coach may want input on who will be taking the snaps, and because of the new rookie cap, the Jaguars won't be on the hook for too much money should they decide to trade/cut/bench Gabbert. Whereas in the past the Jaguars would take a huge hit for ditching him, they're now free to move on without wasting tons of time and money.
So, as the season progresses and ultimately ends, two camps are likely to divide the Jaguars fan base once again. Some will be in Gabbert's camp saying that he needs time to develop. Others will say that you can't fix the problem of playing scared. Only time will tell who's right.