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Blaine Gabbert Injury: Why Gabbert Will Prove to Be One of the Biggest QB Busts

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Blaine Gabbert Injury: Why Gabbert Will Prove to Be One of the Biggest QB Busts
Michael Hickey/Getty Images

Blaine Gabbert is looking more and more like a bust with each passing week.

Now, the pressure continues to mount because according to ESPN.com:

The preliminary results of the MRI performed on Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Blaine Gabbert indicate he suffered a torn labrum in his non-throwing shoulder, a source told ESPN NFL Insider Ed Werder.

A determination about his availability for Sunday's game in Green Bay won't be made until after famed specialist Dr. James Andrews offers a second opinion later Tuesday.

Regardless of when Gabbert suits up again for the Jacksonville Jaguars, don't anticipate a significant impact. Mike Mularkey's offense manages just 411.8 total yards per game, so it's no surprise Jacksonville is 1-5.

Obviously the underachieving defense hasn't helped either, but in pro football everything comes down to a quarterback's ability to make everyone around him better. And although it's definitely not a fair comparison to put Gabbert in the same class as Drew Brees, both were certainly in a similar position as the 2012 season progressed.

The New Orleans Saints field arguably the NFL's worst defense and have an inconsistent running game. As for Gabbert, the Jags defense has not helped him and Jacksonville's best chance at scoring was his passing ability: just like Brees is that guy for the Saints, the Jaguars needed Gabbert in a similar capacity.

Unfortunately, he was not able to deliver and the busting looks more prevalent now than ever before.

Plus, the Jags need to rely on the passing game even more with Maurice Jones-Drew's injury. Per the Associated Press via Dan Hanzus of NFL.com:

Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey said Monday that team doctors haven't ruled out the possibility of a Lisfranc injury for Jones-Drew, according to The Associated Press.

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Unimpressive Development

Giving Gabbert the benefit of the doubt, his rookie campaign did have some bright spots as he threw 12 scores to 11 picks and hit over 2,200 yards.

Still, Jacksonville ranked dead last in passing offense and Gabbert's inability to consistently challenge defenders downfield when given opportunities hurt. Adding to his benefit of the doubt, though, the Jaguars didn't present the most threatening receiving corps in 2011 either.

Fast forward to 2012 and the expectations had certainly increased. Once again, Jacksonville ranks dead last in passing offense and Gabbert only has a 55.7 completion percentage.

Compared to last season, his receiving corps saw a solid upgrade with Justin Blackmon, Laurent Robinson to complement tight end Marcedes Lewis. Factor in Rashad Jennings with a healthy Jones-Drew and that's a nice two-back tandem.

Altogether, there is decent talent around Gabbert—despite Robinson missing the past two games—he has not impressed against vulnerable defenses. The Bengals have been underachieving in 2012, but they sacked him six times and limited Gabbert to only 186 yards. A better-developed quarterback would have diced up Cincinnati's banged up secondary for much more.


Draft Pick Expectations

Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The Jaguars selected Gabbert at No. 10 overall in the 2011 NFL draft. But because of his lacking development, Gabbert is becoming significantly overlooked by guys like Christian Ponder, Andy Dalton and even T.J. Yates who filled in nicely for the Texans as a rookie.

When a guy is a top-10 selection, the pressure is immediately put on and delivering from the get go is imperative. For one, pro football has increasingly become less and less patient because teams need to win now.

And the slower it takes a player, especially a quarterback to develop, the longer it will set the team back. Now include Jacksonville trading up to snag Gabbert and that only enhances the pressure.

In short, not everyone can immediately live up to the standards of being a first-round selection. And until Gabbert proves to make everyone around him better, the Jags passing game will need a new signal-caller sooner than later.


Didn't Produce From MJD Impact

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Despite the challenge of developing as a rookie starting quarterback in pro football, Gabbert was fortunate to have the luxury of Maurice Jones-Drew in the backfield.

Last season, MJD rushed for a league-leading 1,606 yards and added 374 receiving yards. When you consider that Jacksonville ranked last in passing, a defense's best odds at slowing down the Jaguars offense was to stack the box against Jones-Drew.

Well that obviously failed to work, and because of that running game presence, the passing game should have been more threatening, right?

Wrong.

Gabbert failed to read consistently at pre-snap and play-action was not respected because he didn't always recognize the disguised coverage. Just imagine if Ponder, Dalton or Cam Newton had that kind of ground game to depend on each week during 2011.

Sure Ponder had Adrian Peterson, but MJD is arguably just as talented. Newton hit over 4,000 passing yards and he was also Carolina's running game. As for Dalton, his connection with A.J. Green would have been off the charts if Jones-Drew was slamming for the Bengals.

Every quarterback must produce well from a strong running game. Gabbert failed to do so in 2011 and it has been the same story for Jacksonville in 2012.

 

Follow John Rozum on Twitter.

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