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Thursday, May 17, 2012
Pressure point: Jaguars

By Paul Kuharsky

NFC pressure points: West | North | South | East
AFC pressure points: West | North | South | East

Examining who faces the most challenging season for the Jaguars and why.

Blaine Gabbert can deliver some big-time passes.

In a rookie season when he was on the field sooner than the Jaguars initially intended, the offensive framework a young quarterback needed was not in place. Injuries on the offensive line meant less-than-stellar pass protection. The receivers were a motley crew. Mike Thomas’ play dropped off after he got a new contract. Tight end Marcedes Lewis'áplay dropped off after he got a fat new contract.

Gabbert played poorly, drawing criticism for being panicky and, worse, scared. It’s too early to brand him. But the Jaguars' efforts now center on maximizing his chances to succeed.

He needs to pull his game up to at least average to justify the faith of Jaguars management and coaches. The Jaguars added Justin Blackmon and Laurent Robinson to the receiving corps. They’ll get Eben Britton back on the offensive line. A healed-up defense will do a better job at getting Gabbert and the offense the ball back and in better field position.

Coach Mike Mularkey, offensive coordinator Bob Bratkowski and quarterback coach Greg Olson are spending the offseason working with Gabbert. Come the season, they will craft game plans that give him the best chance at success.

The issues that contributed to holding him back have all been addressed. It’s time for us to see some of those big-time passes.