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Focusing on Blaine

Posted Mar 23, 2012

Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey on Gabbert: 'The plan is to help Blaine'

The events of this week were high-profile and suspense-filled.

But Jaguars Head Coach Mike Mularkey said Thursday evening said they were not direction-changing. And Mularkey said that means whatever happened this week, the franchise’s situation at quarterback remains unchanged.

Blaine Gabbert is the starter, and developing him into a premier player remains the No. 1 objective.

“Nothing has changed what we started when we got here nine weeks ago,” Mularkey, who was hired in January, said shortly before the team’s annual Evening with the Coaches event at EverBank Field.

“That plan is to help Blaine with a new coaching staff and a new scheme, and we’re going to follow through with it.”

Mularkey said although the team pursued a trade with Denver for quarterback Tim Tebow the plan at quarterback remained for Gabbert to start with newly acquired Chad Henne – a four-year veteran – competing and backing up Gabbert.

“We had a plan with Blaine as our starting quarterback, and signed Chad to come in here and back him up and compete for that job,” Mularkey said. “That hasn’t changed. “

Because of rules in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Jaguars coaches cannot begin coaching Gabbert or talking football with him until next month. But the coaches have been installing the playbook and studying players since January.

Mularkey said based on what he has studied, he is “excited about the opportunity to work with” Gabbert.

“I’d like to give him a chance with some of the things we’re going to hopefully help him do,” Mularkey said. “With the addition of (quarterbacks coach) Greg Olson, the addition of our offensive scheme, our philosophy, and all of the above, some of the things we feel like we can bring in and help him develop his talents on top of what he can already do.

“I watched tape again yesterday and there’s a lot that he does very well and we just need to get that to be a consistent thing.”

Jaguars offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski showed film of Gabbert during Thursday’s event, praising Gabbert’s “arm talent” and also spending several minutes discussing what Gabbert must improve. Bratkowski said coaches will work with Gabbert on slowing his drop and staying taller in the pocket shortly after he completes his drop. He also said coaches will work with Gabbert to eliminate a hop and a long step at the end of his drop.

Bratkowksi also said not having an off-season because of the NFL lockout last year hurt Gabbert, who played in a shotgun offense at Missouri and had to learn the drop-back mechanics in an unusually brief period.

“Greg Olson has studied quarterbacks and that’s his trait,” Mularkey said. “He’s very diligent about how he coaches the position so we’re going to do some things mechanics-wise. The scheme will hopefully help him but I am looking forward to having him (Greg Olson) work one-on-one with all of our quarterbacks that we have in camp.”

Also Thursday:

*Mularkey said Henne will help Gabbert in several areas, including in meeting rooms, in preparation and on the field. “There’s a lot of things I think he’s going to bring to the table,” Mularkey said. “He’s going to be great in our locker room, he’s going to be great for this football team, for this organization and the way he represents himself and his family. It won’t be just Blaine that learns something from Chad because there’s a lot to be said about him. I’m very happy that he’s here.”

*Mularkey said while Smith and the front office worked on the possibility of acquiring Tim Tebow, the coaching staff continued working on installing the playbook and preparing for the draft.

*Jaguars defensive line coach Joe Cullen said he remains optimistic the team can get production from defensive end Aaron Kampman next season. Kampman signed as a free agent from Green Bay in the 2009 off-season, and has missed 21 games the past two seasons with knee and hamstring issues. Cullen said Kampman is progressing and “obviously we’d love to see Kampman come back full strength.” Cullen said he is “doing well. I’d never write Aaron Kampman off. I’ll tell you that right now.”

*Cullen said the Jaguars made two key moves on the defensive line during free agency, referring not just to re-signing end Jeremy Mincey (a career-high eight sacks last season), but also defensive tackle C.J. Mosley. Cullen said Mosley was key because he backs up both Terrance Knighton and Tyslon Alualu at two significantly different tackle positions – the nose-tackle and the under-tackle positions. “He did a great job for us in his role last year,” Cullen said. “To me, he’s another starter out there. He had some people out there interested and it was big keeping him with us.”

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