clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Jaguars Owner Wayne Weaver partly to blame for Gabbert's struggles

In Pete Prisco's Monday Musings article this week, he mentioned that Blaine Gabbert has struggled with mechanics so far this season and went on to say:

"Some in the organization think it's only a matter of changing the coaching staff, especially the way he's coached, to get him to improve. There's a feeling in the organization that he's not getting taught the proper fundamentals."

While it's concerning, it's not incredibly surprising considering the quarterback coach for the Jaguars this season is someone who has very little experience with coaching quarterbacks. In Mike Sheppard's 18 seasons of coaching the NFL, this is just his sixth as a quarterbacks coach.

He is in his first year with the Jaguars after serving as the wide receivers coach for the Bengals. His only two experiences as a quarterbacks coach were three years in New Orleans when Aaron Brooks was the starter and two years in Seattle when Jon Kitna was starter. 

So how is this Wayne Weaver's fault?

Prior to hiring Mike Sheppard, the Jaguars had one of the promising young coaches in the NFL grooming their quarterbacks. Mike Shula signed with the Jaguars in January of 2007 as quarterbacks coach after four years as head coach at Alabama and just missing out on the Miami Dolphins head coaching job.

It was that following season in 2007 that saw the emergence of David Garrard as starter of the Jaguars following a new throwing motion that as Vic Ketchman put, made him look "like a pitcher who's decided to take something off his fastball."

However, Shula left following the 2010 season and made a lateral move to become the quarterbacks coach for the Carolina Panthers. What kind of contract he received with the Panthers was not made public, but in a Tania Ganguli article about the departure of Shula she revealed some interesting information about Shula's job security in Jacksonville.

"Shula operated on one-year deals each of his four seasons with the Jaguars, giving him free rein to pursue other opportunities."

Couple that fact with the knowledge that Weaver didn't want to sign any positional coaches to anything more than one year deals in this year's offseason and it's easy to see why Shula would leave and why other coaches wouldn't want to come to Jacksonville. It also explains why the Jaguars would be forced to sign a quarterbacks coach who hadn't coached the position in seven years.

Meanwhile, Shula went to Carolina where a fellow rookie quarterback, Cam Newton, has made impressive improvements in his mechanics as an NFL quarterback and is probably the leading candidate for rookie of the year so far. Blaine Gabbert on the other hand has some mechanical issues, is completing 45.7% of his passes and there are feelings within the front office that he is being poorly coached.