A tough, tough day in the inbox – and rightfully so.
As expected, we're pretty much all Blaine Gabbert all the time this morning. I won't ruin the surprise by overanalyzing in the lead-in, but I wrote before the season there would be good times and bad, that patience would be key.
Patience isn't easy. In fact, it's hard and during a process there are going to be days that are harder than others. Right now, it's really, really hard. No question.
He's trying. He's giving effort. His teammates are supporting him.
He also still needs more time. He'll get that time. What he does with it, as was the case when this began, will be up to him.
Let's get to it . . . Kamen from Bethel, CT:
I think Gabbert might have a serious confidence problem. For most of that first half, he looked very good. He looked like he was having the best game of the season. Then he capped off the first half with an interception. It was a bad throw, but the kind of bad throw that happens every now and then to any quarterback. But after that pick, he seemed to collapse before my very eyes. Several of his passes weren't even close to being complete. Once he even dropped the ball while rolling out from the pocket. He wasn't hit or anything, he just dropped it. The thing is that I feel like I've seen this from him before. There are times when he's playing where he'll look good for an entire drive or two, and then suddenly drop off and fail to get anything going. What are your thoughts? Does Gabbert have a problem with his confidence?
John: Without being in Gabbert's head, it's hard to say for sure, but the second half Monday was obviously a concern. I won't sugarcoat that, and I doubt Gabbert or anyone else would, either. Monday's game in a sense was a microcosm of the season. There have been flashes where Gabbert has looked OK, and there have been enough of those that you can see why teammates and coaches believe Gabbert has a chance to be good. He's very young and very raw, and that much we knew going in. At the same time, there have been far too many games where things look like they're just falling apart and that progress isn't being made. This is a process. I wrote that in the off-season and early in the season, I still believe that to be true. I also believe what I have written the last several weeks – that it will be the off-season with a reset offense and perhaps a reset coaching staff before we can truly judge Gabbert. Without question, some pretty big development must take place. Gabbert has everything you could ask for in a quarterback. Great talent. Great arm. He's also very, very intelligent and can see the field. Those are all of the necessities. What's missing? The hope around the Jaguars is it's experience and a few improvements on some fundamentals and a better offense. It's too early to say it's not, but improving in those areas is the task in the coming months.
Mike from Mill Valley, CA:
Is it just me or does Gabbert seem to throw off balance even when there is no pressure?
John: It seemed that way at times in the second half Monday. It's something he must improve.
Jeff from Jacksonville:
Just too many injuries this season to manage a win. Now would be a good time to sit Gabbert and let him watch McCown and learn. Maybe put LeFevour in and see what he has, too. There is just no sense in keeping a 22-year-old kid in there and continue to let him get beat down and possibly hurt and on IR.
John: You know what? At the beginning of the season, I could have gone either way. There are positives to playing a guy early, as Peyton Manning showed. There are positives to sitting a guy for a while, as Aaron Rodgers showed. But once you played and started Gabbert for 10 games I don't see much good in sitting him. He showed some good signs in the first half Monday. The second quarter was about as well as he has played all season and there was optimism. The Chargers got away from the Jaguars quickly after that – through no fault of Gabbert's, really – and Gabbert looked, well, he looked lost after that. If he had looked atrocious the whole game, I'd say maybe sit him, but given the second quarter, you know he can do it. You know it's there. You're 3-9. Let him keep trying. He has to learn sometime.
Paul from Jacksonville:
So many injuries I'm running out of fingers and toes counting them, a receiving corps that is, as was charitably put in tonight's MNF broadcast, "A work in progress," a coaching staff and roster that's been thrown some huge curves this week and we only lose by 24? YEAHHH! (Am I doing this wrong?)
John: It was a tough week and I admit I was guilty of underestimating how much impact the injuries to the cornerback position would have. But to say, "Yeeahhh!" about only losing by 24? No, I won't say that and no one else around here would, either. There are reasons – legitimate ones – for what happened Monday, but there are no "Yeeaaahhs" when it comes to losing.
Tudor from St. Augustine, FL:
Ozone, I get that you don't dig my questions, but is it just me or did that game change 180 degrees once Dwight Lowery left the game?
John: I don't think Lowery's absence was entirely to blame. The absences of Will Middleton and Rashean Mathis and Derek Cox were glaring. But yes, Lowery being out hurt. He has played very well this season and his absence couldn't help when the secondary was down at corner.
Tatupu from Fernandina Beach, FL:
As much as I want to be angry over what I saw out of Gabbert in the second half, I try to remember he wasn't even supposed to be playing this year. That being said, dropped passes can't be blamed this week. There were WAY too many balls thrown behind/above/at the feet of open receivers. Is that something caused by the poor footwork we all know Gabbert needs to work on? Is that really something fixable in the offseason?
John: That's the hope. He's a young guy. We knew development would be a process. Sometimes, it's not a pleasant process, and this certainly doesn't qualify as pleasant. The off-season will be critical for Gabbert, and the honest I answer is I can't predict the future. He can improve the needed areas. It's up to him to get it done.
Nick from New York, NY:
"Cut Leftwich! Cut Garrard! Cut Gabbert!" I'm starting to believe Jacksonville would prefer that the Jaguars have no quarterback at all.
John: I get that feeling, too.
Chris from Tampa, FL:
It was really hard to sit through your sales pitch that sold Tucker as a better coaching alternative once JDR was fired. I laughed when you suggested that offensive practices were tighter under Tucker. Del Rio's firing led us to believe that the poor practice routines of the offense would change. Reality is cruel, however. Coaching was never really the problem. What was the problem, do you think? You know the answer. Players, not plays. Always. Every day of the week and twice on Sunday. It can't be argued with. We need better players. When will that happen, do you think? Or maybe we are a coach away?
John: I'm not going to argue vehemently here, because what we saw Monday offensively wasn't pretty in the second half. But in the first half, it was at least relatively attractive. The Jaguars played perhaps their best offensive half of the season and were in the game until a secondary that has been pretty well decimated by injuries allowed three quick touchdown passes. That was also a secondary that was playing behind a defensive line that was also hurt by injuries. I'm not a big guy on injuries as an excuse. I believe for the most part a team should be able to overcome a certain amount of injuries in a season. I also never have made a point that injuries were a reason the Jaguars were 3-8. But as for Monday night, if you ask me if that game is much closer without the rash of defensive injuries – yes, I would make the argument that it would have been. That's no "sales pitch," just the way I see it.
Paul from Davidson, NC:
We really missed Rashean out there.
John: Ya think?
Gabriel from Jacksonville:
I think we should consider getting McNabb to start and sit Gabbert out next season and let him learn from a vet like how the plan originally was. Let McNabb mentor him.
John: I'm not going to sugarcoat Gabbert's performance in the second half Monday, but if McNabb's the answer, I don't understand the question.