We're all aware of the terrible stats put up by Blaine Gabbert from what seems to be his first game in the NFL all the way until Sunday's game at Green Bay. Gabbert's play constantly started arguments amidst fans, with the two main parties arguing over reality vs potential.
Throughout the 2011 season, the argument for Gabbert transitioning into an above average starter consistently laid around the fact that he played at a much earlier age (21) than most rookies. Gabbert also came out of a Missouri program that ran an offense with hardly any similarities to the NFL-style we see on Sundays.
Nearly everyone for or against Gabbert agrees that he entered the NFL as a prototypical QB in size, though a step behind in the experience margin. He needed time to emerge and, as fans we aren't always the most patient.
Now, we see a Gabbert in the process of turning that metaphorical corner nearly every suit on TV mentions when a young player emerges. We see Gabbert linking plays together while still limiting turnovers. We also see room for improvement but that's for another article. Right now, we see potential coming together as evidenced by the topping of 300 yards on Sunday. Stats aren't everything, but certain marks should be met and when they are met, perception begins to change.
At this point in his career, Gabbert does not own a resume' that would keep any general manager from drafting a star collegiate QB with a an early draft pick. In fact, Gabbert's body of work nearly persuades any front office worker to put their chips all-in on another QB as keeping Gabbert, based off current games played, adds risk and likely shortens time on any new GM. Current GM Gene Smith certainly works under more pressure than he did before drafting the former Mizzou starter 10th overall. GM's receive ultimate judgement based off the play of their QB choices, especially the high selections.
Right now, Blaine Gabbert should approach the rest of the 2012 season as a showcase. Gabbert needs to prove over the course of the season that he deserves to remain the starter. Heavy decisions that impact the long-term competitiveness of this franchise will be made after the season, including where Gabbert figures into the plans.
One 300-yd effort will not change any perception, though multiple 300-yd efforts sure would go a long way toward helping Gabbert remain the starter.
So, Jaguars fans, what's your prediction? Does Gabbert win the 2013 starting job over this season or does he give it to someone that hasn't been drafted yet?