August 23, 2012; Baltimore, MD, USA; Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert (11) prior to their preseason game against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mitch Stringer-US PRESSWIRE
For those unfamiliar with Greg Cosell, he's widely respected as one of the best at breaking down film when it comes to the NFL. He often joins Shutdown Corner's Doug Farrar on Yahoo!'s podcast and last week he talked quarterbacks, including Jacksonville Jaguars second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Back in April, Cosell tweeted that Gabbert was in a great situation with then new head coach Mike Mularkey, because he would help Gabbert with quicker throws and more defined reads.
Fast forward to the end of August, and what do we have? Cosell spoke a little about what he's seen so far from Gabbert with Farrar in their most recent podcast.
The podcast was focused generally on quarterbacks in the NFL and the adjustment and integration of "spread" offenses in the NFL. When the discussion moved to Gabbert, Farrar noted that watching the game against the New Orleans Saints, just isolating Gabbert mechanically, he looked like a completely different player. Cosell credited a lot of this on the coaching, focusing on what Mike Mularkey likes to do offensively.
"It's a very multiple run-game and heres what the pass game is now to help Gabbert, it's a lot of short drops and quick throws," Cosell told Farrar. "They simplified his reads. They've made him quicker and more decisive. In the last game, a very basic NFL route combination, it's probably a basic Pop Warner combination, the flat-curl, was used for five or six snaps. Then you add another element into the flat-curl, what we call a 'seam-seal.' to keep the inside defender to get in front of the curl."
One of the routes that Mike Mularkey looks like he's going to use a lot, especially with Justin Blackmon in the lineup is the curl-flat-stick combination. As you can see in the illustration to the right against the Baltimore Ravens, courtesy of Eric Stoner, this is going to be a route combination that should leave someone open for Gabbert to throw to. It's a play that requires a simple read on the defense before and during the drop back, but will often lead with either the curl or the flat wide open, in this case a short pass with some yards after the catch from Justin Blackmon.
"They've done such a good job to make him (Gabbert) more comfortable and more decisive," Cosell continued. "He even had one or two throws where there were some bodies around him and he made them. They're doing absolutely the right thing. There was never a concern with Blaine Gabbert's arm, I know the throws you're (Farrar) talking about. I remember studying him at Missouri and seeing those seven or eight games I broke down, seeing those outside void throws against zone now a lot of people don't even pull the trigger on. He made those throws in college, the arm was not the issue.
"The issue was his ability to play in the pocket," Cosell told Farrar. "And look, it is going to be third and nine, there are going to be times when there are bodies around him, we're going to have to wait for that quite frankly, but seeing these first two games, particularly the Saints in which he was 11-of-13, he didn't miss many balls. It's very clear what they're (Jaguars) are trying to do with him, and that's absolutely the right thing.
"By the way, that's called good coaching," Cosell quipped. "I've talked to a lot of quarterbacks and there is nothing worse they say than when you drop back and for whatever reason you don't get a clear picture and don't know what you're looking at and everything is happening in a second. Coaches can help with that with how they design their passing offense and that's what Mularkey is doing with Gabbert. When I watch the game against the Saints and saw him (Gabbert) drop back, he knew instantly where he was going with the football."
For now with Gabbert, the Jaguars are running an offense that's going to lead the quarterback until Gabbert becomes read to be the quarterback who leads the offense. Until that time, as long as what Mularkey and the Jaguars offense is doing works, it works.