In the Jacksonville Jaguars victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Thursday evening, quarterback Blaine Gabbert just missed wide receiver Laurent Robinson deep down the field for what could have been an easy 61-yard touchdown pass had it been complete.
"That’s a play I have to hit," Gabbert said at halftime. "Laurent is wide open and we have to find a way to get him the ball. It’s one of those where it’s a matter of two inches. We are perfectionists and we will get that corrected."
At first glance it appeared Gabbert had just over thrown Robinson, but after watching it again it appears Robinson was trying to track the football and slowed up a bit too much and just missed with his out stretched hands. One day during training camp, wide receiver coach Jerry Sullivan told Robinson to stop slowing up because Gabbert was "throwing to his speed," which seemed to be what happened on the incompletion.
"I liked the throw, to be honest with you. I liked the throw," Jaguars Mike Mularkey said after the game. "We have to hit those plays. We’ll hit them. We had situations in practice to throw those, but we haven’t. Maybe if we would have thrown that in practice the result would have been different."
So far through the preseason Robinson has been targeted 13 times and has just two catches for 18 yards. The real problem isn't necessarily his underwhelming stat line through four preseason games, but more so the fact that Robinson and Gabbert just don't seem to be on the same page.
Gabbert has connected with receivers Mike Thomas and Justin Blackmon with seemingly minimal effort and accurate throws. With Robinson however, his throws seem to be either behind the receiver, leading him too far, or with Robinson slowing up to track the ball and it falling just past him. It's oddly consistent.
The big plus side on Thursday was that Robinson was able to get separation in his route and was about as wide open as it can get, but that doesn't really matter if the play isn't complete.