Saturday, February 23, 2013
Bradley sees good in Gabbert (and Jags)
By Paul Kuharsky
INDIANAPOLIS -- The super-enthusiastic Gus Bradley has spent a lot of time assessing players on the Jaguars roster recently.
Jacksonville’s new coach delivers a standard message about building around what players can do. But Saturday at the NFL scouting combine, I felt like he took it past that, too.
In looking for what players can do, plenty of coaches and evaluators wind up seeing -- and maybe obsessing -- about what they can’t do.
Bradley wants none of that. He hit on it as we spoke of Blaine Gabbert.
“When we first got together, I asked our coaches, 'Let’s put together tapes and watch the guys, what they do well,'” Bradley said. “I don’t want to be a coaching staff that comes in here and tears apart our guys and says, 'Well, this is what they can’t do.' Let’s find out what they do well and let’s make it better.
"I think it started off our coaching staff saying, ‘Hey, we’ve got some potential here.’ Now how’s it going to play out in April or May or June or training camp, that’s still to be seen.”
So what do Bradley and the offensive staff feel like Gabbert does well?
The coach pointed to opening day, 2012.
Gabbert opened that game in Minnesota with confident play, connecting on 12 of his first 17 passes in Jacksonville’s first four possessions, driving the team to 10 points.
“He started off real well, he was on fire, and you said, 'Wow,’” Bradley said. “After that the inconsistency started showing up. So I think there are enough bright spots.
“We’re so competitive, we’re saying all we have to do is start out like he did in Minnesota and have that be more consistent in his game. That’s how we operate, that’s how we’re going into it, saying we just need to help him become more consistent, give him more confidence and let’s see if we can do that.
“That’s why I think we’re so excited about him. Let’s see where it takes us. We don’t know. We’ve got to get him on the field and see how he handles it.”
It sounds simple in February. It's usually not as simple when games that matter roll around.
Perhaps the third staff Gabbert plays under is able to pull the best out of him more regularly.
While Bradley and his assistants try, they need to upgrade the framework of the team so that whoever winds up under center in the long run has an optimal chance at success.