Jaguars Still Looking for Blaine Gabbert to Show He's a Starter in the NFL

David Nelson@JvilleJaguarsCorrespondent IIISeptember 25, 2012

QB Blaine Gabbert has looked inconsistent so far in his NFL career
QB Blaine Gabbert has looked inconsistent so far in his NFL careerMichael Hickey/Getty Images

A fairly ineffective passing game, wide receivers not helping out Blaine Gabbert, an offensive line that is depleted by injuries and a non-existent pass rush.

Sounds a little familiar to last season, doesn't it?

The good news is that the Jaguars are better than last season.

Their defense is still looking pretty good despite not seeing a sack since Week 1, and yet to have their leader step on the field in Daryl Smith.  Derek Cox has also just rejoined the team.

The wide receiving corps has finally had someone step up in Cecil Shorts. 

With two late fourth quarter touchdowns through three games, Shorts is the vertical threat that this team has not had for a long time. 

Thank goodness for Shorts, as fifth-overall selection Justin Blackmon has been unable to do much of anything.

Rookie punter Bryan Anger is a monster when it comes to booting his punts, but still needs to work on his directional punting.  Just because you can boot it sixty yards doesn't mean that they can't return it thirty—which has happened a few times.

The one question mark that seems to be bigger than all of the others is just what Blaine Gabbert can potentially do on any given Sunday.

Week 1 showcased a very different Blaine Gabbert from a season ago.

He hit different receivers, didn't seem locked in on one guy, looked patient in the pocket, had great footwork and delivered some very nice balls.

However, in Week 2, he looked like the rookie from last year.

This included inconsistent footwork, zoning in on Justin Blackmon when he wasn't open and missing numerous wide-open opportunities to both Mike Thomas and Marcedes Lewis.

Week 3, he had less than eighty yards passing until he hit Cecil Shorts with the game winning eighty-yard touchdown.

Sitting now with an average of 156 yards per game, four touchdowns and zero interceptions, Gabbert has a 85.8 quarterback rating.

Statistically, not too shabby.  But, you just don't know which Gabbert is going to show up this Sunday when the Jaguars welcome the Cincinnati Bengals.

The Bengals come in with a quarterback who is looking like the best one out of the 2011 NFL Draft in Andy Dalton and AJ Green is a dominant wide receiver in just his second year.

Blaine Gabbert has showcased that he has the tools, the arm and that he has a great head on his shoulders.

What he has not shown is that he can be consistently counted on to make the tough throws over and over again.

One thing he seems to do numerous times throughout the game is either way overshoot the receiver or throw it well before the receiver is even looking for the ball.

Not to say that sometimes he isn't just throwing the ball away when pressure gets to him, but even when there is time in the pocket, Gabbert struggles with his decision-making from time to time.

Blaine Gabbert has the Jacksonville Jaguars on his back, and how far they go will depend on his arm and decision-making.

Justin Blackmon is bound to start playing the way we know he can, and Mike Thomas has yet to be used much at all.

Kevin Elliot has also shown the capability of possibly being a hidden gem after going undrafted. 

The defense looked much better with Derek Cox back, and Rashean Mathis is getting in and out of breaks much faster than the preseason.  Both are expected to start this weekend, with Aaron Ross getting a demotion after a very rough first few weeks as a Jaguar.

Jeremy Mincey and Andre Branch need to apply some pressure moving ahead.

Quarterbacks have all day to throw on this team this year, and that will make even the best defensive back look bad.

After recording eight sacks a year ago, Mincey was expected to be the leader on the defensive line this year, and he still needs to prove he was worth the $28 million that he was given.

The Jaguars look to be in a division dominated by a very, very good Houston Texans team, so if they want any chance at a wild-card birth, they will need to start by winning some of the tough games coming up on their schedule.