The Jacksonville Jaguars defeated the New York Giants on Friday evening 32-31 in the first preseason game of the 2012 NFL season. As we all know, the final score wasn't really what was important, but how some players looked and performed in the game, such as quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Overall, Gabbert had a pretty nice night and showed a lot of what some people wanted to see. In the very first play on offense, Gabbert just missed Marcedes Lewis deep down the field where Gabbert stood in the face of the rush and took a hit as he threw the ball, which likely caused it to sail.
Sure, it would have been great had the pass been completed, but the fact that he got the throw off without "crumbling" was something a lot of people were looking to see. Gabbert then engineered a 13-play, 89 yard touchdown drive. The drive ended on a touchdown throw to Cecil Shorts III and included some big third down throws to keep the chains moving.
Looking comfortable in his drop backs and in the pocket all the while.
The following drive ended after one play when Shorts fumbled the ball on an end around. The third drive of the game saw a pass by Gabbert that drew some groans from fans because of the "chuck and duck" he did on the play. That play wasn't Gabbert cowering in the pocket and being afraid however, it was just a quarterback getting rid of the football instead of taking a sack. The play saw a defensive end coming full steam at Gabbert and I'm not sure he could have stepped into the throw, as he missed a wide open Laurent Robinson by good bit. Had Gabbert tried to side step and run, it's very likely he was sacked.
The defender had him dead to rights so he just got rid of the ball instead of taking a sack.
Later in the drive Gabbert was sacked and stripped of the football, turning it over. The right side of the line allowed pressure up the middle, forcing Gabbert to his left and he was hit from behind and fumbled the ball. The worst thing Gabbert did on the play was not make sure the football was secure while he was moving to his left, but the line couldn't hold and forced him to move. He's got to secure the football better, but outside of that was just a breakdown in the protection.
All in all, I have a hard time seeing someone coming away from this game and not feeling better about Blaine Gabbert for the 2012 season.