Blaine Gabbert: Injury to Jaguars QB Puts More Pressure on Maurice Jones-Drew

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 17, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 30:  Chad Henne #7 of the Jacksonville Jaguars looks to pass during a preseason game against the Atlanta Falcons at EverBank Field on August 30, 2012 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

As if the Jacksonville Jaguars didn't have enough problems—starting the season 0-2, being widely regarded as one of the worst teams in the NFL and lacking enough star power to sell tickets—now comes the news that second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert got hurt on Sunday. 

According to a report from Darin Gantt of Pro Football Talk, Gabbert is scheduled to have an MRI on his leg on Monday to determine the extent of his injuries: 

"A league source tells PFT that Gabbert was getting checked for hamstring and toe injuries, and will have an MRI tomorrow."

For all the flak Gabbert has taken since he was drafted with the No. 10 pick in the 2011 NFL draft, he has had a solid start to the season. His completion percentage is only 51.7 through two games, but he does have three touchdowns and no interceptions. 

It's not like the Jaguars are a dynamic passing team, so there was already pressure on the running game to perform. 

Now, if Gabbert has to miss an extended period of time, the focus of the Jaguars offense shifts even more toward Maurice Jones-Drew. 

The good news for the Jaguars is that Jones-Drew has looked up to the task through two weeks. However, he has only carried the ball 31 times through those two weeks, which is not a formula that can work for this team to have success on the field. 

Gabbert is the most important player for the Jaguars this season. His development has to take a big step forward if this franchise wants to at least approach respectability in the not-too-distant future. 

However, even if Gabbert is able to play right now, the Jaguars are going to have to shift their game plan on offense. They have run the ball just 48 times in two games with 60 passes. 

If the Jaguars are throwing more than they run, they are in trouble. Jones-Drew has had two weeks to get into the groove after sitting out virtually all of the preseason waiting for a contract extension. 

It is time for Jones-Drew to start getting 20-25 carries per game. He is the only offensive weapon the Jaguars have, and their best bet to make any kind of noise this season. Gabbert's injury opens the door for him to get back to his old self.