Jacksonville Jaguars Send QB Blaine Gabbert to IR: Is His Career with Jags Over?

David Nelson@JvilleJaguarsCorrespondent IIINovember 21, 2012

Has QB Blaine Gabbert played his last game as the starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars?
Has QB Blaine Gabbert played his last game as the starter for the Jacksonville Jaguars?Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Jaguars have announced the decision to put second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert on the injured reserve today, ending his disappointing sophomore season.

In a year where big changes were expected with his development, Gabbert showcased a rather slow but steady improvement from last season. Problem is whether or not he is ever going to be good enough to become a good quarterback in the NFL.

At 23 years of age, Gabbert is still a very young player (younger than Andrew Luck).  The difference between him and Andrew Luck, though, is that he is nowhere near the pure talent at the position that Luck is.

The Jaguars took a big chance on Gabbert, and by Jaguars, I mean general manager Gene Smith.

Smith traded up in the 2011 NFL Draft to select Gabbert at the 10th-overall selection—a surprise after a pretty decent year from David Garrard.

Once the Jaguars traded up for Gabbert, it was obvious it was nearing the end of David Garrard's time in Jacksonville. 

The surprise was how quickly the Jaguars made the change.

On the verge of the 2011 NFL season, the Jaguars shockingly cut their starting quarterback and named Gabbert the starter by the third week of the season.

Struggling heavily through his first year, Gabbert finished with an abysmal 65.4 quarterback rating to go with his 50.8 completion percentage.

His statistics did not tell the entire story, as Gabbert looked even worse on film.

With horrendous footwork and indecisiveness lurking on nearly every throw, Gabbert had a lot of work to do heading into the offseason.

The Jaguars did what they could to bring in coaches who they felt could improve Gabbert's abilities.

Between bringing in quarterback coach Greg Olson, offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski and head coach Mike Mularkey, it was clear the Jaguars' objectives were to improve their second-year quarterback.

Adding high-priced free agent Laurent Robinson (who was also designated to the IR today), drafting star college prospect Justin Blackmon and expecting the progression of Cecil Shorts III, the Jaguars gave Gabbert playmakers to help him improve.

Blaine started off the year with a great preseason and a very solid first week in a loss against Minnesota.

The fanbase began believing in their possible franchise quarterback, but it was just a matter of time before the Blaine Gabbert of old popped his head back in.

Gabbert followed the Jaguars' Week 1 game with four very poor performances that would've looked even worse if it was not for a 80-yard game winning touchdown play by Cecil Shorts III against the Indianapolis Colts in Week 3.

In those four games, Gabbert threw for 536 yards to go with three touchdowns and three interceptions.

In an on-and-off injury-plagued year since Week 5, Gabbert's statistics are not all that bad.

From Week 5 on, Gabbert has thrown for 866 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions.

Up until today, Gabbert had thrown for 1,662 yards, nine touchdowns and six interceptions, posting a 77.4 quarterback rating.

The statistics may have shown some improvement from last year, but the team's record does not.  Gabbert went 1-9 as a starter in 2012 and may have seen his last chance to start in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars have had very little luck to go along with a roster that has shown to be less-talented than what Gene Smith thought going into the year.

With some bright spots being Cecil Shorts, Eugene Monroe and Paul Posluszny, the Jaguars have a lot of work to do over the offseason in order for them to contend in a division that is only getting stronger.

The Jaguars look like they will head into next season with a pretty good receiving group and a franchise-type left tackle. The defense has more holes than originally thought, but they also have missed a dominant pass rusher and coverage specialist in their secondary for quite a while now.

A player like that could help out the talent that is already there.

With all the re-tooling starting at the most important position, the Jaguars are not just another bad team.  They are a bad team with a brand new owner who wants results quickly, along with a city that is wanting to attract more fans.

Shad Khan has a lot of questions to sort through. 

Should he retain Gene Smith?  Should he retain Mike Mularkey?  Does he have his eye on somebody already?

Until these are answered, Gabbert's future is extremely cloudy with Jacksonville.

In all likelihood, Gene Smith will see his way out of Jacksonville, which means a new era will begin.

Starting at quarterback, what will they do? 

Is Blaine Gabbert capable of getting better than this, or should the Jaguars draft somebody?  Do they think a guy like Joe Flacco could be available in free agency?  Is there a veteran they could bring in who may win quickly? 

Is Chad Henne really a starting quarterback in the NFL?

Blaine Gabbert has shown one thing during his time in Jacksonville, and that would be that he is a class-act guy on and off the field.  Despite his poor production and lack of wins, Gabbert deserves to be remembered as a very young guy who took a lot of criticism and showed small amounts of improvement. 

Unfortunately, it just does not seem like he is capable of being a winning quarterback in the NFL.


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