It's funny to me to see how quickly people want to jump down the coaches' throats for this Panthers game. Really? I know the playcalling wasn't very effective, but you know what? The team wasn't very effective on Sunday.
Cat Scratch Reader, when talking about the Panthers, said they have trouble holding the point of attack when opponents try and run. That's their weakness. What do you do in the NFL when you see a weakness? Attack it.
That's what the Jaguars did. against a team that struggles with run-stuffing, the Jags came out with 2 TEs and Greg Jones at FB and plowed for yardage. In a rain game like that, MJD is the team's best weapon. People are acting like riding your workhorse running back is a bad idea.
That's what you're supposed to do in a rain game, play physical and run the ball, and that's just what the coaching staff chose to do.When people talk about wanting to see Blaine Gabbert throw the ball more, I just think of the Austin Powers line: "Well, I want a toilet made out of solid gold, baby, but it's just not in the cards now is it?"
When passing, he struggled with his accuracy. The team let Gabbert take shots up top early in the game. Twice actually. One of the deep shots resulted in an athletic not-quite-catch by Jason Hill. The second one was a grapefruit of interception through rain so thick, the cameraman didn't even know what was going on. After the pick, in a field-position kind of game, they cut out the deep passing and threw shorter. Makes sense.
(BTW, for those who think the team needs to "modernize" it's game plan; bubble screens are a nice chunk of the playbook nowadays. They don't work unless opponents respect the deep ball, but they are a part of most teams' playbooks in the new pass-happy NFL and hardly existed until Brady and the Pats started doing it with Wes Welker 3-5 years ago.)
Gabbert was a spread QB in college, and part of the concern about bringing him in was seeing him take snaps under center. I didn't think it was really a factor long-term, just in the short run, and I wasn't gonna let it turn me off to the guy entirely. Still, Gabbert struggled mightily holding onto the snap today, and dropped snaps at least three times.
The TD pass was a stroke of good luck, and I'll gladly take it, but the truth is we had more success running the ball than we did passing. MJD got 5.1 yards a rush in the game. Why throw more than you have to?
The good thing is that next week will seem like a cakewalk to Gabbert. Sunday's game was a hot mess in terms of field conditions. For a guy in his first start, he did fine, but don't make the mistake of thinking that he was good enough to be trusted yesterday. He wasn't going to come into a crazy rain game and throw for 350 yards. He's not that type of quarterback yet.
A good coaching staff knows the strengths and weaknesses of their team. I'm not saying it was a perfect gameplan, but I'm not calling for Del Rio's head for not trusting a rookie QB in his first start in a rain game. If Gabbert had a few games under his belt and had proven that he could effectively move the offense, I'd be annoyed by it, but in this situation the team was right to lean on the running game.
Obviously, there's no point in blaming Gabbert. He's just learning and I believe he'll be the future of this franchise, but blaming Koetter and JDR for the game plan is just selling those guys down the river just because.