Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert has proven to be a colossal waste of a first-round draft pick, but after spending such a high pick to get him in 2011, how does this team move on from here?
It's easy to look at Gabbert and say it's not really his fault.
His offensive line is terrible and he hasn't had any help from his wideouts. But, given the way guys like Ryan Tannehill, Andrew Luck and even Brandon Weeden have found ways to get the job done under similar circumstances, Gabbert is clearly not franchise quarterback material.
Through five games this season, Gabbert has completed 80-of-146 passes (55 percent) for 796 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions.
These stats don't seem bad on their own, but given the way Gabbert has actually been regressing since Week 1 instead of the other way around, there's reason for panic in Jacksonville. Furthermore, Gabbert's pathetic performances in his two games against excellent defenses (Houston Texans and Chicago Bears) have left a terrible impression.
In those two games, Gabbert has completed just 24-of-52 passes (46 percent) for 195 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.
Great players rise up when the pressure is on. Gabbert, on the other hand, is like a shrinking violet when his team needs him to step up the most.
So, what recourse is left for the Jaguars at this point?
There are really only two options.
Stick with Gabbert Through the End of the 2012 NFL Season
Since the Jaguars spent such a high draft pick on Gabbert, this seems like the most likely course of action for this team.
By the end of the season, there should be no doubt about the need to move on and draft another "franchise" quarterback, and given the fact that Gabbert's rookie contract was only a four-year, $12 million deal, it won't hurt too bad to simply cut their losses.
This course of action comes with a benefit: With Gabbert, this team won't win many games this season—a fact that guarantees that the Jaguars will be in the running for one of next year's top prospects.
Who knows? Maybe the Jaguars end up with the No. 1 overall pick and find themselves in line to pick up West Virginia's Geno Smith.
Stranger things have happened.
Start Chad Henne and Try to Salvage the 2012 Season
Henne isn't a savior, but he can't do any worse than Gabbert at this point.
Before the season began, I thought that Henne would actually win the starting job in training camp. That never materialized, as Gabbert supposedly was getting better, but after further evidence, Gabbert is who I thought he was.
Henne is a proven mediocre starter who will at least stand tall in the face of pressure (Gabbert doesn't necessarily look terrified when heavy pressure comes this season, but he still panics under duress).
The Jaguars should turn to Henne this season and let Gabbert sit on the bench. They won't win many games, no matter which quarterback starts the rest of the way, but maybe, just maybe a couple of years on the bench will serve Gabbert well.
It worked for Steve Young...
Gabbert isn't ready to lead the Jaguars—or any other team, for that matter—to success.
He lacks the necessary poise, leadership and basic skills to lead an NFL offense to greatness—let alone mediocrity.
The Jaguars must come to terms with this undeniable truth. The sooner, the better.
There is a clear difference between a struggling franchise quarterback and an ill-equipped pretender, and Gabbert is without a doubt a pretender.
It's time for the Jaguars to look to the future and accept the fact that they'll be picking another quarterback in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.
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