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Blaine Gabbert: Jaguars Have No Choice but to Start Gabbert

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 01:  Quarterback Blaine Gabbert #11 of the Jacksonville Jaguars attempts a pass during a game against the St. Louis Rams at EverBank Field on September 1, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Sam Greenwood/Getty Images)
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Zachary D. RymerMLB Lead WriterNovember 6, 2016

On occasion, one must choose between the lesser of two evils. All political elections come to mind.

So too, in a sense, does the Jacksonville Jaguars' quarterback situation. When the Jags made the baffling decision to release veteran quarterback David Garrard just days before the start of the regular season, they were left to choose between Luke McCown and rookie Blaine Gabbert.

It's only been two games, but the Jags have already seen enough of McCown. He never was the answer, but he made it obvious when he threw four interceptions against the New York Jets. Per ESPN, Jags head coach Jack Del Rio named Gabbert his starter on Wednesday.

Just like that, Gabbert's first career NFL start will come on Sunday at the Carolina Panthers. Coincidentally, he will be matched up against fellow rookie Cam Newton, who has shattered expectations in the early goings this season.

Will Gabbert perform well? Honestly, I don't know. Given the way he performed in limited action against the Jets (5-of-6 for 52 yards), I guess he could. The truth is that I think Gabbert's prospects for Sunday are barely worth talking about.

The real story here is that Gabbert is starting in the first place. When the Jags traded up to draft him with the No. 10 pick in the draft, the idea wasn't to start him right away. The plan was to stash him behind Garrard until he was ready, and the lockout-marred offseason seemed to add a certain finality to the plan.

That Gabbert is starting in Week 3 of his first NFL season is not a sign of the progress he has made. He has definitely made progress, but certainly not enough to warrant a Week 3 start.

Instead, the fact that Gabbert is starting is a sign of just how bleak things really are in Jacksonville. Though the move saved them some money, the Jags were in trouble the second they released Garrard. No doubt they were hoping McCown would last until at least their bye week in Week 9, but he was bad enough to force them to expedite Gabbert's development.

Don't get me wrong, starting Gabbert is the right call.The Jags may not be about to win a Super Bowl any time soon, but they can't afford to intentionally go into the tank. They would have been in the tank as long as they continued to start McCown.

But while that may be, the Jags are doing nothing more shrewd than making the best of a bad situation. It's still a bad situation, but it is slightly less bad now.

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