Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports
How can a player who was the 10th overall pick in the 2011 NFL draft be deemed a surprise?
Perhaps the shock here was how easily third-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert wrapped up the job this summer when most felt it was going to be a difficult decision.
Truth be told, Gabbert played well in the 2012 preseason and was much-improved a year ago before his season was cut short by a torn labrum. But the specter of his 2011 rookie campaign combined with the fact that the Jaguars finished with only two wins last season has skewed a few facts.
Following a rookie season in which he completed only 50.8 percent of his passes, threw only one more touchdown pass (12) than interception (11) and fumbled 14 times, Gabbert was a different quarterback in 2012.
In 10 games last season, the Jaguars quarterback improved on his completion percentage (58.3), threw for nine scores, six interceptions and had five fumbles.
This summer, Gabbert has looked even more in command and certainly more confident. And the one number that jumps out at you is the fact that in 26 pass plays this preseason, Gabbert was not sacked.
The fortunes of the Jaguars in 2013 may certainly be debatable, but don’t be surprised if their starting quarterback enjoys a solid campaign.