ORCHARD PARK, NY - AUGUST 27: Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Jacksonville Jaguars smiles on the sidelines against the Buffalo Bills at Ralph Wilson Stadium on August 27, 2011 in Orchard Park, New York .Buffalo won 35-32 in overtime (Photo by Rick Stewart/Getty Images)
When the Jacksonville Jaguars made the move to start Luke McCown to open the season, I understand the rationale. I figured that the Jaguars would have a long leash with McCown and as long as he didn't have a complete utter meltdown, they would ride with McCown until the playoffs were out of the picture, roughly around the bye week. Well, after McCown threw his fourth interception on Sunday against the New York Jets, to me it signaled the shift to the future.Watching the game with a friend, we were discussing if Blaine Gabbert would take any snaps in the game. I was trying to make the point that once you put Gabbert in, you kind of have to keep playing him, especially if he looks good. Then McCown threw his fourth interception and you knew he was coming out of the game. Simply put, McCown was awful. He tried to force some passes that weren't there. Only one of his interceptions could you really defend, because it was tipped, but on all the others he just flat out made a bad throw or didn't see the lurking defender.
I won't say Gabbert looked good, but he looked alright completing 5 of 6 passes for 52 yards against some prevent defense. He didn't look rattled, he got hit pretty hard and got right back up and even eluded a sack when he was pressured. There was nothing Gabbert showed, albeit it in limited duty, that he's not ready to be thrown into the fire.
Once McCown had the game he had, I have a hard time seeing Gabbert not starting. The fact that Jack Del Rio was indecisive when asked after the game and not dismissive told me all I need to know. I would expect Blaine Gabbert to start on Sunday against the Carolina Panthers. Given what we've seen out of this offense the first two weeks of the season, there's really no reason not to start him. They're not doing anything Gabbert can't handle.
Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union wrote post-game, "Will Del Rio risk his future on a rookie QB?" To me, this is a nonsensical question, as it implies Del Rio is not risking his job sticking with Luke McCown. Either way, I'm beginning to think Jack Del Rio is a dead man walking this season. If he'd have started out of the gate with Gabbert, he may have gotten a pass for the 2012 season, but as it stands he has to finish out strong, no matter who the QB is. I don't think Luke McCown will play as poorly as he did against the Jets much of the time, but how much better is he going to play?
For the franchise, it's better for Gabbert to get his lumps over with, as I've said all along.