Anyone would say that Blaine Gabbert could have played better in 2011, but all this talk about him being a bust after one season is nonsense.
I've been particularly critical of his pocket presence and decision-making, yet I realize the underlying circumstances of his situation. He was put in a bad spot last season, plain and simple. The offensive line was awful at a couple of spots, he had no receiving help outside of Marcedes Lewis, and there was no offseason preparation.
And don't say, "Look at Cam Newton." Newton is far and away a better quarterback than Gabbert. It's not fair to compare them just because they were both drafted in the first round. Two totally different players with two totally different skill sets.
New head coach Mike Mularkey is known as a bit of a quarterback guru, which has been cited as the reason for Gabbert's improved offseason. Even Gene Frenette of Jacksonville.com has seen major strides from last season:
During offseason training activities, minicamps, and into training camp, a better Gabbert is evolving. How much that transitions into real games, we’ll find out. But it’s clear to coach Mike Mularkey’s staff and teammates that they’re stoked about where Gabbert is headed.
They see it in his footwork, technique, film study dedication, field presence and throwing motion. He just looks more the part of what a quarterback is supposed to be.
Just remember, very few players come into this league and dominate. For some, it takes years of annual improvement to reach their prime. Let's give Gabbert some time progress and mature as a player.
By no means am I saying he is going to be the next Aaron Rodgers, but let's at least wait until the games actually count before judging him.