Jake Roth-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
The Jacksonville Jaguars are sitting at 1-4 on the season and head to Oakland after the bye week, which might have come at the perfect time for quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
During Gabbert's rookie season, his biggest flaws were how he worked in the pocket, his footwork when throwing the football, and keeping his balance through his drop back and throw. On those three counts, Gabbert has improved at an unbelievable rate. He still has a few issues in the pocket, but for the post part it's significantly better than it was last season and he no longer looks "scared" in the pocket. As I kept hammering on last season, Gabbert wasn't scared in the pocket he was merely confused because what should have been there from practice and film wasn't.
The biggest flaw in Gabbert's game in 2012 isn't missing some reads however, it's his internal clock. It seems like, and this is just my observation, when it gets to a point in a game where Gabbert no longer trusts his pass protection he begins to pre-determine his throws and becomes impatient in the pocket, even when he has one to throw from.
"Some of the things that's happened in his past, as far as pressure on him, has sped up his clock faster than his clock, his timing, his clock in his head that's saying get rid of the ball," Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey said after the Jaguars loss to the Bears. "Those are things I think he has to trust. He's still in that mode of learning to trust the protection and the things we do to try to keep him clean."
Once that trust in his offensive line is gone, Gabbert goes into a shell and plays "safe" mode. As I mentioned, he predetermines where he's going to go (like the first pick-six against the Chicago Bears) and doesn't let the plays that are called develop, because he doesn't think he'll have the time to. The other issues with missing some reads comes with time and film work, and is something we've seen Gabbert improve upon even during a game after looking at pictures of past plays on the sideline.
The bye week however comes at a great time for Gabbert, as it gives him two weeks of practice to just work on his craft and get comfortable with his offensive line, that is finally fully healthy and intact.
The question boils down to, is that something that can be re-learned? Can the internal clock in his head be rewound, reset?
The fatal flaw for Gabbert as the Jaguars quarterback is likely going to be his development curve. Gabbert is the type of quarterback who needs 3-4 years to get everything really going because he was so raw as a pro prospect. The problem with that however is, he might not get that kind of time with the Jaguars if things don't drastically improve over the next 11 games.