While Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey came out this week and said there was not a competition for the Jaguars starting quarterback position and Blaine Gabbert was their guy, a report has surfaced that contradicts that a bit. Don Banks of Sports Illustrated has a "hunch" that Chad Henne will win the Jaguars starting job by Week 3 of the 2012 preseason, and cites that some within the organization who question how much faith Mularkey actually has in Gabbert.
The line of reasoning Banks uses however, is slightly questionable in my opinion and doesn't make much sense.
New head coach Mike Mularkey says there's no quarterback competition between Gabbert and Henne, but that's what he has to say right now. Gabbert is in fragile condition after a brutal rookie season, and there's no reason to further shake his confidence. But all you really need to know is that Jaguars coaches have been working with Gabbert to re-teach him some fundamentals and hone his drops and balance in the pocket. That's not really what you want to hear about your starting quarterback as he enters year two of his career, after going 10th overall in the draft.
I'll explain why after the jump.
The Jaguars coaches are indeed working on some of Gabbert's fundamentals, such as his footwork and his balance in the pocket, but I'm failing to understand how this is suddenly a bad thing. This is the coaches doing their job, working on known issues Gabbert had coming out of the NFL Draft that the previous coaching staff failed/didn't have a chance to work on because of the NFL lockout.
I'm not sure how many second-year quarterbacks still don't need work on certain mechanical issues or footwork, but it can't be a high number or a normal thing.
I've said multiple times and a truly believe it, Blaine Gabbert will be the Jaguars starting quarterback on opening day barring injury. The level at which Chad Henne has to play and the amount of terrible Blaine Gabbert would need to be at the same time is just unfathomable. This isn't a situation like last season, where near even play will get the job done because Gabbert is the Top 10 pick this time. Gabbert has to be the Jaguars opening day starter.
"When there's new people in here, they're here to compete for your job," Mularkey told the Florida Times-Union after practice on Tuesday. "That's never going to change from here on out. I'm hoping everybody is here. I don't want coaches that don't want to go to the next level. I just don't want people that are comfortable in their role. You have no chance of succeeding if everybody gets comfortable. That's anybody in business. That's an organization that has been around. You want people always striving to do something better.
"So yeah, there's competition but you have to go in and say this guy is a starter. Maurice Jones-Drew is a starter but Rashad Jennings is competing for his starting job. That's the same thing."
This isn't even bringing up the fact that Gabbert is Gene Smith's job security and Mike Mularkey was his hire. That would be one neat little backstab.