Prior to an 80-yard touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts III on his final throw of the game, Blaine Gabbert had completed just 9-of-20 passes for 75 yards. The subpar game came just one week after a game that he finished with just 53 yards passing, although he did leave slightly early in that game with an injury. The poor performances have unsurprisingly drawn criticism for the second year quarterback, but that isn't entirely well-placed, according to Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey.
"It will help not to drop balls. That helps. Don't know what Blaine can do with that," Mularkey told media during his Monday press conference. "I don't know how much Blaine can do with that but we have had drops since we've been here. We've got to do a better job of catching the football. That gets you into a little bit of a rhythm. It doesn't put you in second and 10s. If you do throw it you're throwing the ball down the field a little more."
Also drawing blame from Mularkey for some of the poor play of the offense was the offensive line. "There's a lot of things he can do in his game and we can help him across the board," Mularkey said. "That's protecting him better, including yesterday's game. That pocket is closing down quicker than it should. We need a pocket to step up into more consistently."
Gabbert wasn't blameless though, according to Mularkey, who said that the quarterback missed some throws, although he blamed most of the problems Gabbert faced on his youth at the position. "He missed some throws yesterday and he made some great throws," Mularkey said. "Consistency is definitely a must from everybody, but I think just standing in there and making that last throw for the touchdown says a lot about the guy. We need him consistently for the entire game, and I think he's still young at this position."
Through three games, Gabbert has completed 40-of-79 passes for 468 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions. His 85.8 quarterback rating ranks him as the No. 19 among the 32 starting quarterbacks in the NFL.