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Wednesday, April 18, 2012
A dissenting view on Gabbert's toughness

By Paul Kuharsky

While Blaine Gabbert's rookie year was a nightmare, he won’t be a bust.

That’s the opinion of Pete Prisco, the Jacksonville-based national NFL writer for CBSSports.com, who thinks Gabbert will be generating a completely different buzz in a year.
The reality is that at times Gabbert was jumpy in the pocket early on last season. But that waned as the season moved along, as he became more comfortable. I say most of the problems were brought on by bad mechanics and a bad system.

It's fixable. Gabbert will not be a bust -- even if most of you think he will be.

In fact, I will go as far as saying that a year from now you will be talking about him as one of the rising quarterbacks in the league. I say that because he is smart, has a big arm, can make all the throws and spins his head. He's also willing to put in the work.

It’s easy to say it will be hard for Gabbert to shed the soft label that got attached to him in his rookie year. I don't feel as strongly as Prisco about a Gabbert reversal. I do feel strongly that he deserves more time to prove himself.

If Gabbert makes strides under a trio of new coaches -- head man Mike Mularkey, coordinator Bob Bratkowski and quarterbacks coach Greg Olson -- and strings together a couple good games, he can flip the conversation pretty quickly.

The Jaguars open at Minnesota, against Houston and at Indianapolis.

We’ll quickly see if Gabbert can stand in against rushers like Jared Allen, Connor BarwinDwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

"You watch what he does this year," one player told Prisco. "All that stuff got way overblown. He's on a mission to prove everybody wrong. I've seen guys who aren't tough. He isn't one of them."