When you ask a Jaguars fan how they feel about the organization drafting former Missouri quarterback, Blaine Gabbert, you’ll usually get one of three answers. One being the enthusiast, happy there’s a new QB in town. Maybe you’ll come across a loyalist, a fan still believing in David Garrard. Or maybe you’ll just get the nonchalant fan that really lacks a strong opinion. Even though Jaguars fan may have varying opinions, one thing for sure is that the media has decided upon one common belief.
Most NFL analyst and sports journalist assume Gabbert will be sitting behind the incumbent starter David Garrard and will most likely take over the offense in 2012. With that thought, Gabbert is drawing comparisons to Aaron Rodgers and the quarterback situation that took place Green Bay a few years back. Of course there are several reporters and bloggers that disagree to compare Gabbert and Rodgers, but the quarterback scenario has a high probability to play out identically.
Gabbert has all the tools to succeed in the Jaguars offense and has the ability to challenge Garrard, but the advantage lies with Garrard. How so? The NFL lockout. While the lockout is in place coaches and coordinators have no access to the players, meaning Blaine Gabbert has no access to a playbook explanation. With no guidance from the Dirk Koetter, Gabbert is going to be far behind, giving Garrard, who already knows the playbook a clear advantage.
Another aspect to consider is the locker room. There is no doubt that this team stands behind and is loyal to Garrard. Pro Bowl players Marcedes Lewis and Maurice Jones-Drew have been two players that have supported Garrard publicly in interviews. Gene Smith has created a team of high class, high character players but there could be some tension if the front office makes Gabbert the starter on opening day. A divided locker room is detrimental to the success of a team.
The most prominent reason that Garrard has the advantage is because he’s motivated and the pressure is on. When he has time to prepare, Garrard has shown that he responds to adversity well. Before the 2007 season, Del Rio decided to part ways with former first round pick, Byron Leftwich, and let Garrard lead the team. Despite having the pressure of the decision, Garrard had the arguably best season of his career , throwing for 18 touchdown and 3 interceptions, not to mention leading the Jaguars to the second round of the playoffs. After ending the 2009 season with questions looming about his performance, in 2010 Garrard returned to raise his QB rating 7.3 points and throw 8 more touchdowns than the previous year. Don’t forget after his abysmal Monday night performance against the Titans, he comes back injury free and throws 4 touchdowns against the Cowboys. Needless to say that Garrard finds a way to motivate his self and elevate his play when he has time to prepare and the pressure is on. Now that the team has brought in a younger QB to challenge Garrard, there’s no doubt he’s motivated.
Now that Garrard having the advantage and the motivation to bounce back with an even better year, the Jaguars quarterback situation is looking very similar to the one in Green Bay. Then starter Brett Favre elevated his play enough to keep Rodgers waiting for three years. Garrard has the opportunity to keep Gabbert patiently waiting. If either quarterback starts, the real winner will be the fans, because the better player will be on the field.
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