Been a minute, yet nonetheless the sun is up and the Jags seem to be getting a little bit of respect around the National Football League. You still do hear the occasional (laughable) accusation of the city not supporting the team and so on and so forth, but for the most part I think people are really beginning to buy into the high energy, Bradley and the highly apt, Caldwell's message and theme for the team.
Though many still believe that the QBs the Jags have on the current roster can't muster up enough consistency to win this team games. That's their focal point. The QB! Well honestly I don't blame them, but I do have a different stand point on the issue. Yes, make it an open competition (something that should've been done last year), and yes if u can find an EJ Manuel or Ryan Nassib or Tyler Bray waiting for u at the top of the third round grab him and add MORE competition. I wholeheartedly agree with the competition notion because noones job should be "safe" a year removed from a 2-14 record. Here's my point though, with Blaine Gabbert being pushed to showcase his talents (and if he's up for a fight) I think he could win the job and produce victories and be successful in this league.
First thing first, you have to protect the guy. That's with any QB whether it be a rookie or veteran (just look at Jay Cutler). For years under Garrard the team was competitive with a chance to go to the playoffs and our defense was the biggest problem. I don't believe Garrard is more accurate or has a better arm than Henne or Gabbert, but he sure was a better athlete (3rd/4th & 26 vs the Steelers '07) and reacted better under pressure. The offense put up points but still left something to be desired at QB. Fast forward to 2011 and a rookie QB is thrown into the fray with limited experience playing QB from under the center. Sure the defense was better due to valuable offseason free agent moves, but you still had a very porous OL that causes Garrard to have back issues well after his days as a Jag.
Anybody else feel like we could've really had something special in 2011 with better QB play and that top 10 ranked defense. Well you get that if Garrard was healthy because he could make plays with his feet when the pocket collasped in the quick manner in which it did. I don't blame Gabbert for ducking if the defense knows your line is weak and they could easily get to you even at times with 3 man fronts. In addition to that look at your receiving corp...other than Cecil Shorts who else did u have? An unmotivated Mike Thomas who was soon jettisoned after dropping a clear TD pass this past season.
Lets give Gabbert a break. We have to build around him much like the Patriots did for Tom Brady and the Colts did for both Peyton Manning and rookie sensation Andrew Luck. You rebuilt your receivers corp and I could debate that the Jags have the best receiver duo in Shorts & Blackmon. Now it's time to build up the OL and protect the QB so that he can sit back in the pocket and pick teams apart. The guy can make all the throws with the exception of finesse mid range and deep passes(which he still can work on). He can fit it in a hole and make the unbelievable pass, but he, like any QB, has to be standing up to do it.
In short, use this draft to fortify your defense (Dion Jordan & a dynamic corner should be your 1st 2 picks) and then add OL help in the mid to late rounds. Get quality pass protecting lineman to protect your potential franchise QB this year or set yourself up to be able to protect a QB you bring in next year. Without there being a sure fire candidate in this draft and a new regime with time to rebuild you don't have to press the issue. You can be competitive rather soon with a solid draft and solid play from both the QB and the defense. Don't need spectacular just need to be competitive and I believe the Jags could be sooner rather than later. #JagsStandUp