Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert has struggled in his career so far, and in his second season where it looked like it was possible he would improve, it hasn't shown up much on the stat sheet. His mechanics are clearly improved and he's better than the train wreck in the pocket that he was his rookie season, but he's still coming up short quite a bit.
Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey says while Gabbert has his struggles, he could use more help from his teammates on offense.
"I think that's pretty much it," Mularkey said to suggestions that the team needs to give Gabbert more help on Monday. "We're all trying to help him in one way or another. 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. 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."
Gabbert's internal clock in the pocket being sped up isn't all that surprising, considering the state the offensive line has been in much of the season with players constantly shuffling in and out and some of the backups struggling to hold blocks even on three-step drops, but Gabbert needs to begin trusting his protection soon, which will open up some of the other issues going on.
"Some of those things we're trying to get the ball thrown down the field. Some of them are third downs where you have to run deeper routes, you have to protect longer and letting those routes develop, which he did on a couple. There are signs of that," Mularkey continued. "He did make some nice throws on that one drive third and longs but we've got to do that more consistently with him."
Ever since the Houston Texans game, Gabbert's patience in the pocket seems to be getting less and less, where he opts to immediately take the open receiver rather than letting some plays develop. While sometimes the only available guy is the checkdown, he is checking down too much the past few weeks and even missing some reads for bigger chunks of yardage. While the offensive line could block better than they are, if Gabbert can't slow his internal clock down it won't matter much.
Early on against the Chicago Bears, Gabbert seemed to be doing a better job of it and hit some plays down the field. In fact, Gabbert had over 100 yards passing early in the second quarter after their one drive of the game, but that was all the offense was able to do.
And there in lies the biggest problem with Blaine Gabbert, for me. When something goes wrong that is seemingly out of his control, he seems to go into a shell and can't muster much more than a single drive, if even that. In the first quarter of the game, I knew the Jaguars had no shot to win the game.
Zach Potter dropped a sideline pass from Gabbert, then Maurice Jones-Drew was stuffed for a 2-yard gain, and on third down Jones-Drew dropped a quick pass over the middle from Gabbert and the Jaguars were forced to punt. It was right then I knew the team had no shot, because that's a classic drive that seems to completely derail Gabbert. I thought maybe if they could make it to halftime he could reset from it, especially due to the next drive he had, but after the sack/fumble late in the second quarter the nail was in the coffin.