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Inside the Jaguars: Feeling good about Gabbert

Posted Sep 23, 2013

Jacksonville Jaguars HC Gus Bradley wants to change QB Blaine Gabbert’s mindset to allow him to play with “freedom.”

JACKSONVILLE – Gus Bradley likes a lot about what he knows about Blaine Gabbert.

He likes a lot about what he has seen, too.

Bradley said now the challenge is getting those things – much of which he has seen mainly in practice – to translate to the field, a process he said will begin when the third-year veteran quarterback returns to the starting lineup against Indianapolis at EverBank Field Sunday.

“We feel good about him going into this week,” the Jaguars’ first-year head coach said of Gabbert on Monday, a day after a 45-17 loss to the Seattle Seahawks at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash.

Gabbert, the starter to start the regular season, had the last of 15 stitches removed from his right (throwing) hand before Sunday’s game. He missed two games after sustaining the laceration on his hand on the final series of a season-opening loss to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Chad Henne started the last two games at quarterback for the Jaguars, and has completed 46 of 82 passes for 512 yards and a touchdown with two interceptions this season. Gabbert completed 16 of 35 passes for 121 yards and no touchdowns with two interceptions against the Chiefs.

Bradley said the Jaguars ruled Gabbert out early in the week last week because they knew there was a limited chance he would be ready Sunday. But Bradley said Gabbert practiced well Friday, a day on which Gabbert impressed Bradley with his movement and how he threw.

“It looked like he had some freedom,” Bradley said.

Bradley said Gabbert in practice on Friday ran with the scout team, which Bradley said was a matter of Gabbert reading a play off a card and playing relaxed. Bradley said he played well in that situation, Gabbert’s first time running with the scout team this season.

“I talked to him about that,” Bradley said. “It looked like he was just playing. He was free, and throwing the ball and throwing it on the run. I told him, ‘That right there, what you just did? That’s what we have to capture.’ Those are the things that are promising for us.”

Bradley also said he believes the last two weeks have been good for Gabbert, adding that Gabbert “has some special talent” that the Jaguars want to utilize.

“We really like his traits,” Bradley said. “He does some things well, but he makes some mistakes in decision-making. It’s one of those things where if you give him five things to decide from, at times maybe that’s not the best thing to do for him or for Chad. Maybe we have to simplify it and allow him to play with more freedom.”

Bradley also said Gabbert has matured since the beginning of the offseason, adding that a key with Gabbert may be changing his mindset. Bradley on Monday called Gabbert “a pleaser” in the sense that he didn’t want to take risks or let anyone down.

“We have to change his mindset to say ‘It’s OK. 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,’” Bradley said.

Also on Monday:

*Bradley said he remains excited about the Jaguars’ young players, mentioning specifically rookie defensive backs Johnathan Cyprien (safety), Josh Evans (safety) and Demetrius McCray (safety). The trio played much of the game Sunday, and while Bradley said they made mistakes the group showed progress. Cyprien forced two fumbles in the last two weeks and Evans registered seven tackles Sunday. “We’re going to go through some growing pains,” Bradley said. “They’re competing, but that’s the challenge we’re in right now.” . . .

* Bradley said while the Jaguars had some success running in the second half using gap-blocking schemes that doesn’t mean abandoning the zone-blocking scheme implemented in the offseason. “What’s important for us is to keep that variety,” he said. . . .

*Bradley said coaches spent extensive time reviewing the Seattle game, watching it on the flight to Jacksonville early Monday morning and again Monday afternoon. “We’re trying to take a deep look at things we can do to improve as quickly as possible with some of our scheme stuff,” Bradley said. . . .

*Safety Dwight Lowery sustained a concussion on the first series Sunday and will enter the concussion protocol program, Bradley said. Bradley also said cornerback Will Blackmon sustained a head contusion Sunday that was not diagnosed as a concussion. . .

*Bradley said he didn’t believe the block by Seahawks wide receiver Golden Tate on Lowery that caused the concussion was cheap. . . .

*Bradley said cornerback Alan Ball is improving after missing Sunday’s game with a groin issue. “There’s a solid chance we could get him this week,” Bradley said. . . .

*Tight end Marcedes Lewis continues to improve, Bradley said, and there is a chance he could play Sunday. Lewis missed the first three games with a calf injury. . . .

*Bradley said that while rookie cornerback Dwayne Gratz (ankle) was walking out of a boot Monday it’s unlikely he will play Sunday. . . .

*Bradley said defensive tackle Roy Miller hyperextended his elbow, but should be able to play Sunday. . .

*Bradley said running back Maurice Jones-Drew came through Sunday’s game well after being questionable with an ankle injury entering the weekend.

*Bradley said wide receiver Mike Brown has a fracture in his lower back, and is uncertain for Sunday.

*The Jaguars waived wide receiver Jeremy Ebert and signed guard Jacques McClendon to the active roster. They signed Ebert to the active roster and waived McClendon. Ebert was waived last week and re-signed to the practice squad. He must clear waivers Monday night before the Jaguars can re-sign him to the practice squad. . ..

*Players were off after arriving in Jacksonville from Seattle around 4 a.m. Monday morning.

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