Gus Bradley announced at his Monday press conference that the Jacksonville Jaguars would be starting Blaine Gabbert on Sunday against the Indianapolis Colts, that is as long as everything goes according to plan during the week of practice as expected.
The move to start Gabbert, now that he's healthy and has the stitches out of the laceration on his hand, shouldn't be a surprising one. When Bradley named Gabbert the starter prior to the 2013 season opener, he made it a point to say that the move was made with conviction and he wasn't going to change his mind if Henne's play picked up in the preseason while Gabbert was out.
It especially wasn't surprising since Henne was just as ineffective in his two starts as Gabbert was in Week 1.
Bradley thinks the time off has helped Gabbert, however.
"I think this has been good for Blaine, to be honest with you. To go through the game planning process, to be involved with all the meetings and be in there with Chad and maybe seeing a different side of it and I think that’s been good for Blaine," Bradley said on Monday.
Not only did Gabbert get to see a different side he didn't really get last season while on injured reserve, but Bradley noted he seemed to be more "loose" while running with the scout team, enjoying himself more than trying to not make mistakes.
"We saw a side of him when we went out and practiced on Friday where it looked like he had some freedom. He was running the service team and was looking at a card and going out there and playing," Bradley said. "And I talked to him about that because it looked like he was just playing, he was free and throwing the ball and throwing it on the run. I said that right there what you just did, that’s what we have to capture. I think those are things that are promising for us."
When Bradley is talking about Gabbert being "free" running the scout team, he means that it appears Gabbert plays more loose, takes more chances and plays with some risk. Last season, then Jaguars head coach Mike Mularkey beat it into the quarterbacks heads to take what's given to them and protect the football. In essence, he coached his team to be risk-averse, especially Gabbert.
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Fast forward to 2013 and Bradley wants Gabbert to try to break that habit. He wants Gabbert to stop being, as he calls it, a "pleaser".
"I think what Blaine does is Blaine’s a pleaser. He really wants to please Jedd (Fisch), he really wants to please us and he wants to please the players. I think when you do that you might not take as many risks because he doesn’t want to let anybody down," Bradley explained. "I think we have to change his mindset to say it’s okay, don’t worry about us, we’ll be fine. The way you please us is to go out there and let loose and take some risks and to do those things and play with some more freedom. I think that’s what we’ve got to develop with Blaine."
The jokes exist with Gabbert, which are laced with some truth, that he checks the ball down far too often and isn't willing to take shots down the field like Chad Henne does. The reality of that is that they both do each roughly an equal amount, but Henne clearly seems to play with more... reckless abandon, for lack of a better term.
Bradley wants to see some of that carefree attitude from Gabbert, even if he makes some mistakes.
"It’s okay if you’re in the pocket and you feel a rush to move outside the pocket. It might be okay to run the ball and slide or get out of bounds, or try to make some things happen on your own," Bradley explained when asked about wanting Gabbert to play with more freedom. "When we watched Seattle last week a lot of their explosive plays came off Russell Wilson scrambling and making plays. Aaron Rodgers does it. There’s a lot of players in this league, quarterbacks, that through that freedom have made big plays. We have to look at that as far as if that’s going to help us a little bit."
With Gabbert returning to the lineup on Sunday it's possible we could see a much different looking offense than we've seen the past two weeks with Henne. Gabbert is more mobile than Henne, though he always seems reluctant to use his wheels, but he offers more when rolling out and in read-option looks, should the Jaguars go that route.
More from Big Cat Country:
- Jaguars injury roundup: Mike Brown has broken bone in back, Dwight Lowery has concussion
- Jaguars QB Blaine Gabbert expected to start against Colts
- Jaguars vs. Seahawks: Grade Jacksonville's performance
- Jaguars vs. Seahawks: Gus Bradley says there's enough blame to go around
- Jaguars vs. Seahawks: Good, bad and the WTF