NFL Playbook: David Garrard Is Miles Better Than Blaine Gabbert

Eli NachmanyCorrespondent IIIMay 17, 2011

JACKSONVILLE, FL - DECEMBER 12:  Quarterback David Garrard #9 of the Jacksonville Jaguars celebrates following the game against the Oakland Raiders at EverBank Field on December 12, 2010 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
Sam Greenwood/Getty Images

With Blaine Gabbert having fallen into the Washington Redskins' laps at the 10th pick, the educated NFL follower would think that Mike Shanahan would pull the trigger on the Missouri signal-caller and the rest would be history.

Instead, the Jacksonville Jaguars enticed the Redskins out of their pick, offering a Jacksonville first and second rounder.

Jack Del Rio and his crew drafted Gabbert, rather than Shanahan and the Redskins, in a confusing move that some are still shaking their heads about.

David Garrard, the current quarterback in Jacksonville, isn't perfect—Garrard, though, knows how to get the job done.

It's not Garrard's fault that he has a bad receiving corps, but the quarterback seems to shoulder much of the blame for a somewhat-stagnant offense in Jacksonville.

The Jaguars, for some reason, went out and drafted Blaine Gabbert when the team could have easily gotten two talented players for offense or defense in the early rounds.

Garrard's team (and yes, it still is Garrard's team) was only one or two pieces away from the postseason last year, and now Jaguars brass elects to go quarterback and ignore real needs.

I don't see what Gabbert can do better than David Garrard.

Here we see, in one play, David Garrard do everything that Blaine Gabbert can't do, and do it well.

In this play, Garrard is lined up under center in the full house formation, with one receiver split out wide.

The Raiders counter with a sort of nickel-like formation, and rush four men with pick-up zone coverages.

As soon as the play begins, Garrard realizes that Oakland can give no help over the top, effectively clearing Jason Hill for takeoff.

Michael Huff is assigned a deep half of the field, and the safety picks up Jason Hill on a seam route...but it is too late.

Rewinding the play, Garrard subdues the rushing outside linebacker with a deceiving play-action fake to Maurice Jones-Drew, something that Gabbert is unable to do.

All the while, the Jaguar quarterback keeps his eyes down the field (something Christian Ponder does nicely on play-actions, I just felt the need to point that out), and notices Hill open deep.

Garrard rocks and fires, delivering a beautiful pass two steps ahead of Michael Huff, and Jason Hill catches the ball for a touchdown.

Blaine Gabbert will struggle mightily with doing just that, as the quarterback's inability to complete deep passes will cripple him in an AFC South offense.

Notice that the AFC South base offense is predicated around the deep pass and the run to the outside.

Gabbert won't even have a chance to succeed, having to transition from slants and screens in the spread offense at Missouri to delivering deep balls consistently after play-action fakes.

Another problem with Gabbert is his lack of true, definable pocket presence.

Gabbert tends to have happy feet when the rush comes towards him, and while these types of zero-coverage, straight-man blitzes led to wide-open looks in college, the NFL is a different story.

Skip to 3:58 and take a look at this play here to get a better idea of what I'm talking about.

Gabbert is given a three-man rush, and as soon as the young signal-caller receives the snap, he completely loses any leverage he has as a passer and tucks the ball.

Gabbert runs a few yards, then notices a man open downfield, so he takes the ball out and lobs it deep.

Compare that play to this play, when David Garrard played the Cowboys this year.

The Cowboys bring a six-man rush against Garrard's line, and after about a second or two, Dallas has considerably condensed the pocket.

Garrard stays noticeably cool and collected, not running off with the ball.

Rather, Garrard scans the field and finds Marcedes Lewis in one-on-one coverage with linebacker Bradie James.

No. 9 rifles the ball down the field, and Lewis makes the catch over James.

If Gabbert can't run a play-action, how will he start in Jacksonville?

If Gabbert can't deliver a consistent deep ball, how will he start in Jacksonville?

If Gabbert can't have a cool demeanor in the pocket, how will he start in Jacksonville?

Three questions, one answer: he won't.