Breaking Down the Jaguars' Quarterback Conundrum

Jon ShumakeContributor IIIMay 14, 2013

JACKSONVILLE, FL - AUGUST 30:   Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Jacksonville Jaguars (L), #7 Chad Henne, and Assistant coach Greg Olson talk 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

The NFL is a quarterback-driven league, and the Jacksonville Jaguars are currently searching for one who can lead the team to victory.

Neither Blaine Gabbert nor Chad Henne have done much to prove they can be that player during their stints as Jacksonville's starting quarterback.

Gabbert has yet to live up to being the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft and has struggled throughout his first two seasons. He's completed just 53.8 percent of his passes for 21 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.

His poor play has led him to compiling a 5-19 career record thus far.

Gabbert's toughness has also come into question at times, and he finished last season on injured reserve after suffering a forearm injury against the Houston Texans.

Gabbert's injury gave Henne the opportunity to claim the starting job, but he failed to do so.

Henne got off to a hot start in Gabbert's relief against the Texans, as he passed for more than 350 yards and four touchdowns in the game.

He crashed back to reality during the six games he started to close the season. He completed about 55 percent of his passes for six touchdowns and 10 interceptions en route to a 1-5 record in those games.

Neither quarterback was able to secure the starting role last season, which has led to the quarterback conundrum the Jaguars currently face.

The lack of a clear-cut starting quarterback has forced general manager David Caldwell to add quarterbacks for a "wide-open" competition at the position, according to Alex Marvez of Fox Sports

Jacksonville signed Matt Scott and Jordan Rodgers in undrafted free agency to add competition to Gabbert and Henne.

But who is the favorite to win the job?

There isn't one, according to offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch.

Per Jason Cole of Yahoo! Sports, GM Caldwell said it will give everyone a "fair chance," and that will be the case during training camp. 

Gabbert and Henne will get an equal shot at earning the starting quarterback job.

With Caldwell as the new general manager and Gus Bradley as the new head coach, the Jaguars are in a position to play the best quarterback. The new regime doesn't have previous ties with the current players, which means it won't push for one to start over the other.

The only way Henne should get the nod over Gabbert is if Henne makes it obvious he's the better quarterback.

Gabbert is still one of the youngest players in the league at 23 and has enough upside to make it tough to give up on him yet. He showed flashes of fulfilling his potential in several games last year, but was unable to sustain that play.

The third year could be the charm for Gabbert, and he could finally shake the "bust" label.

This year could be Henne's last chance to win a starting role in the NFL. While Gabbert's age benefits him, Henne's age works against him. He'll be 28 entering the season and has a track record of being too inconsistent to be a reliable starting quarterback.

Henne could possibly be the odd man out if he's unable to secure the starting role.

He has too high of a cap hit, $4.15 million per, for the Jaguars to justify keeping him as a backup. 

Although Henne does have the experience edge over the other quarterbacks, Jacksonville would be better off going with the young quarterbacks who could develop into something more.

That leaves Rodgers and Scott, who are competing against each other for the final quarterback spot. An injury to one of the quarterbacks could have given the other an edge in the battle.

While Rodgers may be ready for training camp, the injury could give Scott an advantage, as he'll have extra reps to impress the coaches.

Scott, who was the top undrafted free-agent signing, per Gil Brandt of, already had ties with the Jaguars before he was signed as an undrafted free agent. Jacksonville's quarterback coach Frank Scelfo coached the quarterback during his time at Arizona and knows what the young player is capable of developing into. 

The quarterback battle is going to make great theater to watch during training camp. There will be four quarterbacks who will battle for as few as two roster spots. The players who respond to the pressure the best will likely be the ones who find themselves on the team.

And as bad as the Jaguars' quarterback situation is, it could always be worse. At least they're not the Jets.