- Paul Kuharsky, ESPN Staff Writer
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ESPN’s Ron Jaworski is running through NFL quarterbacks in a SportsCenter “Quarterback countdown” series that started with Tim Tebow at No. 30.
Jacksonville’s Blaine Gabbert registered at No. 29.
While I don’t have the video to share, I think reading what Jaws had to say even without the pictures can be informative. Here’s analysis from Jaworski as he watched all-22 film of the Jaguars’ second-year QB:
“Gabbert started 14 games as a rookie last season with the Jaguars. The kindest way to describe his performance would be uneven. Two plays really stood out as I reevaluated Gabbert this offseason. The first came against the Bengals, his third NFL start. Look at Gabbert just crumble in the pocket. I know, that's tough to watch. Here's the second play (against the Browns). It's not much different, except this one had a chance to be a touchdown. Again, not the pocket toughness you need to play NFL quarterback. That's a problem that must be addressed. And look at wide receiver Jason Hill. He ran the deep post. You couldn't script a better scenario. The deep safety vacated the middle. You can lay it out to Hill with no one in centerfield. This was a first and 10 shot play and the Jaguars got what they wanted. Focus on Gabbert. This is not pressure by NFL standards. You have to step into this throw. Of course, you're going to get hit. That comes with the position.
“You can't play quarterback well in this league if you can't deliver in the eye of the storm. Now, to be fair to Gabbert, he faced consistent, quick pressure in 2011. There were many throws in which he did not have a chance. Ball security was an issue though -- far too many fumbles. But what intrigued me about Gabbert, especially since I saw him throw live, was that he's a very good arm talent. "Sluggo seam" was a featured part of the Jags' playbook. It's a slant-and-go to the single receiver's side and a seam route to the tight end side. This was a big-time throw by Gabbert (a pass for big gain to tight end against Tampa Bay). It's a firm throw but you don't drill it. You need some touch. Gabbert gives you a lot to work with from a throwing standpoint.
“Gabbert must get stronger and tougher in the pocket to play to his arm talent. If he doesn't, he will have limited success as an NFL quarterback.”
So Jaworski is saying there’s a chance for Gabbert -- which is what some of us have maintained in the face of an onslaught of Gabbert bashing.
He needs better pocket presence, but he’s got an arm that made the Jaguars judge him worthy of the No. 10 pick in the 2011 draft. Jaworski sees a lot to work with from a throwing standpoint. So does Mike Mularkey. Now we have to wait and see what an offseason of work with a new staff, upgraded receivers and some rough rookie year film to evaluate will do for Gabbert.