NFL Nation: Matt Scott

Most significant move: Few of the Cincinnati Bengals' cuts were very surprising, but quarterback Matt Scott's release might have been the most significant because he had been viewed as the No. 3 quarterback on the roster behind Andy Dalton and Jason Campbell. Tyler Wilson, fresh off concussion protocol, reverts into that role. When Wilson was signed after an injury to Campbell two weeks ago, it appeared the writing was on the wall for Scott, a mobile quarterback who doesn't fit the Bengals' scheme as well as the others. Although he played well during the Week 1 loss at Kansas City, Scott completed only 45.5 percent of his passes and was sacked five times in the three games he played.

Sharp should find a home: Kicker Quinn Sharp's release had been expected after he was signed in the offseason to help keep starter Mike Nugent's leg fresh throughout training camp and offseason workouts. While Nugent is the starter and has the more accurate leg of the two, Sharp's power is one of his more impressive traits. In Sunday night's preseason game, hours before he was cut by the Bengals, Sharp went 2-for-2 on field goals with one of them a 51-yarder. The Oklahoma State product should help someone's team this season desperate for a kicker.

What's next? The Bengals aren't technically done with this round of moves. They could end up sending two of their Tuesday cuts, J.K. Schaffer and Lavelle Westbrooks, to injured reserve Wednesday. Both were cut via the waived/injured designation and have until Wednesday to be claimed by another team. If neither is claimed and they clear waivers, they will be added to Cincinnati's IR. It's also worth keeping an eye on safety Taylor Mays, rookie linebacker Marquis Flowers, stand-up defensive ends Sam Montgomery and Dontay Moch, receivers Cobi Hamilton and James Wright and running back BenJarvus Green-Ellis as the Bengals cut to 53 on Saturday.

Bengals' cuts: QB Matt Scott, DT Larry Black, S Isaiah Lewis, K Quinn Sharp, WR Ryan Whalen, CB R.J. Stanford, TE Kevin Brock, WR Jasper Collins, LB J.K. Schaffer, CB Lavelle Westbrooks, LB James Davidson, WR Alex Neutz, WR Jeremy Johnson, OT Curtis Feigt, WR Conner Vernon, P T.J. Conley, DT Zach Minter, OG Chandler Burden.
CINCINNATI -- Just two preseason games in and already Cincinnati Bengals offensive coordinator Hue Jackson has identified an issue so problematic that it had him seething Saturday night.

It's the turnover issue, one that has plagued the Bengals early this season, primarily on the second- and third-string teams. Still, regardless of experience level or depth-chart status, Jackson believes the turnover problem is one that affects his entire offense.

He can't stand for that.

"I've got to get this solved," Jackson said minutes after Cincinnati's 25-17 loss to the New York Jets in the home preseason opener.

Against the Kansas City Chiefs in their opening preseason game, the Bengals were intercepted twice. Against the Jets, they were only intercepted once, but also lost two of the four fumbles they had in the game. When it came to retaining possession, the Bengals struggled, and the scoreboard reflected that.

Both of the lost fumbles resulted in Jets touchdowns on New York's ensuing drives. Backup quarterback Matt Scott was unable to hold on to the ball at the midpoint of the second quarter when he got blitzed and blindsided on a sack. Five plays later, Jets running back Bilal Powell scored on a 2-yard touchdown run that cut the once-wide 14-point lead in half.

Running back Cedric Peerman's late-third quarter fumble immediately preceded another Jets touchdown that put the visitors ahead 23-17. With a safety tacked on following a punt blocked into the back of the end zone, the Jets had all the room they needed for the win.

"We keep turning the ball over and we keep putting the defense in a tough situation," Jackson said. "This turnover thing is not what we should be doing. That's my responsibility and we've got to get it fixed."

He's got eight days to work on it. The Bengals are next in action next Sunday for a night game at the Arizona Cardinals.

Free-agency series: Quarterbacks

February, 24, 2014
Here is the first of a 10-part series breaking down the Jaguars’ free-agency needs, position by position:


Who’s on the roster: Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne, Matt Scott and Ricky Stanzi.

Analysis: Henne’s contract expires in March and the team wants to sign him to an extension and GM David Caldwell said last week that it could get done before free agency beings on March 11. If both sides can work out a deal, Henne would go into the offseason as the team’s starter. He’s coming off a season in which he started 13 games and threw for 3,421 yards and 13 touchdowns with 14 interceptions. He’s the first Jaguars quarterback to throw for more than 3,000 yards in a season since David Garrard in 2009. Henne, who had nine TD passes and five interceptions in the final five games, didn’t tear it up but he did bring stability to the offense that had none when Gabbert was on the field. Gabbert’s 2014 contract is guaranteed so there’s no reason to cut him, and from conversations I’ve had with Jaguars personnel I get the impression that the team hasn’t completely given up on the former first-round pick. Stanzi joined the Jaguars in late September and spent most of the season as the team’s No. 3 quarterback. Scott spent the season on the practice squad but also worked at receiver on the scout team because of injuries at the position. The team is intrigued by his athleticism and he’ll get more of a chance to develop.

NFL free agents of interest: If Henne’s contract expires before the sides can work out a deal, he’ll be the team’s top target.

Need meter: 8. Everything the team does at this position revolves around signing Henne to an extension. The Jaguars want to keep him because they feel he’s the best option heading into 2014. Even if the Jaguars do draft a quarterback, GM David Caldwell said it’s unlikely they’ll be ready to play right away and Henne gives the team the best chance to win as the starter. He’d also be a good mentor to a young quarterback, a job the team does not want to leave to Gabbert. Gabbert did win the starting job in training camp last year before losing it because of his injuries and inconsistent play, so he could again beat out Henne or another quarterback but the Jaguars are better with Henne at the helm. Scott will be given a harder look this offseason.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars general manager Dave Caldwell had promised that the team would be aggressive when it came to working the waiver wire and trying to improve the bottom part of the roster.

He wasn’t kidding.

The Jaguars were awarded seven players off waivers on Sunday, adding receiver Stephen Burton (Minnesota), defensive back Winston Guy (Seattle), tight end Clay Harbor (Philadelphia), guard Jacques McClendon (Atlanta), linebacker Chris McCoy (Philadelphia), linebacker J.T. Thomas (Chicago) and tight end D.J. Williams (Green Bay).

They aren’t done yet, either. Caldwell said the team will look at the players other teams released on Sunday and there could be some additional signings on Monday.

"We’ll evaluate that pool and from that pool we’ll see if we can upgrade somewhere," Caldwell said. "We will always look for an edge and an advantage of where we can try to get better."

Speed and the ability to play on special teams are the two traits for which Caldwell is looking in available players. Six of the seven players signed have special-teams value.

"It’s something we’ve looked at the whole time," Caldwell said. "We’re always going to look to get better in every phase, not just special teams. It’s offense, defense, [and] it's personnel. Whatever we’re doing we’re going to work to get better. We felt like when we came here in the offseason we wanted to upgrade our team speed. We feel like we didn’t completely do that in the offseason but we feel like we did that today."

To make room for the seven additions, the Jaguars cut defensive back Antwon Blake, tight end Brett Brackett, center Dan Gerberry, defensive tackle Kyle Love, fullback Lonnie Pryor, receiver Jordan Shipley and linebacker Andy Studebaker.

The Jaguars also signed the following players to the practice squad: cornerback Marcus Burley, defensive end Ryan Davis, receiver Jeremy Ebert, guard Drew Nowak, receiver Tobais Palmer, quarterback Matt Scott, and safety Steven Terrell. The Jaguars have one remaining spot to fill on the practice squad.

Here’s a quick look at the seven new players:

Burton: The former 2011 seventh-round draft pick played in 15 games for Minnesota last season and caught seven passes for 73 yards and one touchdown.

Guy: He was a sixth-round pick by Seattle last year and played in three games, including the NFC divisional playoff game against Atlanta.

Harbor: He spent the past three seasons in Philadelphia after the Eagles took him in the fourth round in 2010. He has played in 39 games (18 starts) and has 47 catches for 421 yards and four touchdowns. Also has lined up at receiver.

McClendon: The former 2010 fourth-round pick by Indianapolis has played in only four games.

McCoy: Miami selected him in the fourth round in 2010 and he spent that season on the practice squad with three teams (Miami, Houston and Seattle). He spent the past two seasons with Calgary in the Canadian Football League.

Thomas: Chicago selected him in the sixth round in 2011. After spending his rookie season on injured reserve he played in every game last season for the Bears.

Williams: He spent the past two seasons with Green Bay after the Packers selected him in the fifth round in 2011. He has nine career catches for 70 yards. He also can line up at fullback.
Click here for a full list of Jacksonville Jaguars roster moves.

Most significant move: The Jaguars’ No. 3 quarterback has yet to practice with the team.

Matt Scott and Mike Kafka were among the 21 players the Jaguars cut on Friday, meaning the team will begin preparations for the Sept. 8 season opener against Kansas City with Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne and Ricky Stanzi as the quarterbacks. Neither Kafka nor Scott played well in the preseason: Kafka completed 13 of 29 passes with one touchdown and one interception while Scott completed 18 of 40 passes with one interception. Scott also had a fumble returned for a touchdown.

The Jaguars signed Stanzi on Tuesday after he was released by the Chiefs and cleared waivers. The former fifth-round draft pick in 2011 spent the past two seasons on the Chiefs’ active roster. He never appeared in a regular-season game, but Jaguars coach Gus Bradley said he got a good report on Stanzi from Jaguars scout Kyle O’Brien, who spent the 2012 season with the Chiefs.

"We liked what we saw on film of him, I can tell you that," Bradley said. "We really did. We liked him. We were evaluating him out in warm-ups [on Thursday night], you know, when he was throwing the ball. So we did like him, and one of our scouts was with Kansas City and was intrigued by him and I think it passed on to us."

It’s still unclear whether Gabbert (hairline fracture in his right thumb) will be able to start the season opener. If he can’t, Henne would get the start and Stanzi would be No. 2. If Gabbert can play, Stanzi would likely be inactive.

One extra spot: The Jaguars will receive a roster exemption on Saturday for receiver Justin Blackmon, who will serve a four-game suspension for violating the NFL’s substance abuse policy. That allows the Jaguars to keep a 54-man roster, but it also means that the Jaguars have only five receivers on the roster right now: Blackmon, Cecil Shorts, Mike Brown, Ace Sanders and Jordan Shipley. That’s an area that the Jaguars likely will address this weekend from the waiver wire.

Onward and upward: CB Marcus Trufant is an 11-year veteran who played well in the preseason, but he doesn’t fit into the Jaguars’ youth movement in the secondary. Plus, the signing earlier this week of Will Blackmon made him expendable because of Blackmon’s age (28, four years younger than Trufant) and special-teams ability. Still, Trufant is an experienced, heady player who could find himself on a roster. The Jaguars liked defensive end Pannel Egboh but his production didn’t match his measurables (6-foot-6, 277 pounds). It wouldn’t be surprising if he ended up on another roster within the next few days. The Jaguars' roster may be one of the thinnest in the league, so it’s unlikely that there will be much interest in most of the players cut.

What's next: The Jaguars certainly aren’t anywhere close to being done with cutting and adding players. Bradley and GM Dave Caldwell have both said they plan on continuously scouring the waiver wire in an effort to improve the bottom part of the roster, so expect more moves over the weekend. Most of the impending signings will likely center around their ability to help on special teams. The units have struggled during camp and in the preseason, which is why linebackers Brandon Marshall, Michael Zimmer and Julian Stanford were released. The Jaguars added linebacker Andy Studebaker in mid-August and linebacker Kyle Knox and cornerback Blackmon, both of whom were released by Seattle, earlier this week. Blackmon was signed on Wednesday and played well in the Jaguars’ 20-16 victory over Atlanta on Thursday night, returning a punt for 21 yards.

Three takeaways: Jaguars-Falcons

August, 30, 2013
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Three things that stood out in the Jacksonville Jaguars20-16 victory over Atlanta on Thursday night:

1. Running back Jordan Todman showed again not only why he deserves to make the team but to probably be No. 2 on the depth chart behind Maurice Jones-Drew. The former UConn standout ran for 60 yards and a touchdown on nine carries, giving him a team-high 223 yards on 29 carries in the preseason.

Todman, who scored on an 18-yard run against the Falcons in the first quarter, is a patient runner who quickly gets north and south when he makes a decision. He has been the offense’s best player throughout the preseason.

The Jaguars signed Justin Forsett to be the top option behind Jones-Drew, but he has yet to play this preseason because of a sprained toe on his right foot. He hasn’t even practiced since he suffered the injury during the first live period of training camp.

Forsett is hoping for a Week 1 return, but even if he does, Todman has been so impressive that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him get more work.

2. Cornerback Demetrius McCray had his best game of the preseason: five tackles, two pass breakups and a sack. One of those tackles came with a group of other defenders on a fourth-down stop inside the 5-yard line to preserve the victory.

The Jaguars drafted McCray with their second pick in the seventh round of this year's draft. He’s a bigger corner (6-foot, 185 pounds) and plays the physical style coach Gus Bradley wants out of his corners.

McCray had been having a relatively anonymous preseason (just two tackles), but he solidified his spot on the roster with his performance against the Falcons. He jarred a pass loose from receiver Kevin Cone and then made a leaping deflection of another pass to Cone in the first half. He also made a solid open-field tackle on fullback Jason Snelling on a screen pass.

3. Quarterback Matt Scott did some nice things, but they were wiped out by two terrible plays: a fumble that was returned for a touchdown and an interception on back-to-back series in the second quarter.

Scott’s first turnover came when he failed to secure the ball when he turned on a bootleg and was confronted by defensive end Jonathan Massaquoi, who poked the ball free and returned it for a 9-yard touchdown. It’s not an unusual occurrence for a quarterback to whip around into the bootleg after the fake and see a defender in his face. Sometimes the smartest thing a quarterback can do is realize the play has been blown up and just secure the ball and keep the negative play from becoming even worse.

On the interception, Scott stared down intended receiver Mike Brown, and cornerback Desmond Trufant, the Falcons’ first-round draft pick, stepped in front of the pass. There may have been some miscommunication on the route, but it was an easy interception for Trufant.

Scott was battling Mike Kafka for the No. 3 quarterback spot. Scott completed 6 of 12 passes for 67 yards. Kafka completed 6 of 15 passes for 46 yards, but he did hook up with Jeremy Ebert on a 13-yard touchdown pass that put the Jaguars ahead for good.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars wrap up the preseason in Atlanta against the Falcons tonight (7:30 p.m. ET). Here are three things to watch:

The quarterbacks: With starter Blaine Gabbert out with a hairline fracture of his right thumb, Chad Henne gets the start. But he and the rest of the team’s starters will play only 10-15 snaps. That leaves Mike Kafka and Matt Scott to play the majority of the game.

The two are battling for the No. 3 quarterback spot. Neither has been particularly impressive in the preseason. Kafka has completed 7 of 14 passes for 27 yards and one interception while Scott has completed 12 of 28 passes for 103 yards. They’ve played in every game.

The team claimed former Kansas City QB Ricky Stanzi off waivers on Tuesday, but that move appears to be more about picking his brain about the Chiefs (whom the Jaguars play in the regular-season opener) than anything else.

So it’s Scott versus Kafka for the third quarterback spot. It’s a critical competition, at least for the early part of the season. There’s some doubt that Gabbert will be ready to go in Week 1, in which case Henne would start and the Kafka/Scott winner would be the No. 2.

Jonathan Cyprien: Coach Gus Bradley has said several times this week that he wants Cyprien to get more reps against the Falcons. The second-round draft pick missed the first two weeks of training camp because of a hamstring injury.

The 6-foot, 217-pound safety is a better option in the secondary than Chris Prosinski, who was picked on by Miami in the preseason opener, including a play in which he got turned around on a touchdown pass. Cyprien seemed to be unsure of himself at times in last Saturday’s game against the Eagles and the extra playing time will certainly help.

Cyprien will be one of two rookie starters in the secondary (cornerback Dwayne Gratz is the other). They’re going to make mistakes but the best way to limit those is to get as much time on the field as possible.

The battle at WR: Justin Blackmon, Cecil Shorts, Ace Sanders and Mike Brown are set, which leaves five players competing for two spots. The top two candidates are Jordan Shipley and Tobais Palmer, with Jeremy Ebert, Toney Clemons and Charly Martin likely on the outside.

The 5-11, 178-pound Palmer is intriguing because of his speed, but he has fumbled two punts in the preseason and that may be something he can’t overcome. Shipley leads the bubble group of receivers with four catches for 48 yards. He also has value on special teams as a punt and kickoff returner, which may be enough to win him one of the final two spots.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- I got to the Jacksonville Jaguars practice fields this morning just three plays into full-team work.

Some quick thoughts on what I saw and heard:

Blaine Gabbert: The quarterback had his right ankle heavily wrapped and didn’t participate in team work. But he said after practice that barring something crazy he’d be back to a full workload tomorrow. Mike Kafka worked as the No. 2 behind Chad Henne, with Matt Scott last.

Wildcatting: Denard Robinson ran several Wildcat plays, but didn’t throw on any of them, handing off or running.

I am generally anti-Wildcat, but the Jaguars are the right team to be playing with it -- a team without a high-quality quarterback.

Receiver Mike Brown did throw a pass on a trick play, after taking a lateral screen pass from Kafka to the left side. Brown threw to the right side of the end zone from about 40 yards out. Running back Jordan Todman had linebacker Julian Stanford beat, but couldn’t corral it. (See this play and some pictures from today on my Instagram account: pkuharsky)

I watched one-on-one pass rush (which was sometimes two-on-two), Andre Branch tried to bull rush Luke Joeckel and while he gained some ground, Joeckel had control. Will Rackley rode D’Anthony Smith wide on one snap. And Jason Babin slipped under Eugene Monroe’s left shoulder but then got pinned there and went to the ground. Tyson Alualu did some nice work against Mike Brewster working on an inside rush. That’s a matchup he should win. I’ll write more about Alualu and his move to end soon.

Good throw: One of Henne’s best throws was to Marcedes Lewis in the middle of the field for a mid-range gain. What made it especially good was that Henne initially looked and pumped left, then came back to find Lewis.

Fumble: Cecil Shorts and Henne shared responsibility on an end-around handoff being fumbled.

Well defended: Undrafted rookie cornerback Marcus Burley hasn’t been heard from much in camp so far, I am told. But he made a very good play in the end zone. From the 10-yard line, Henne threw a nice pass to Mohamed Massaquoi into the right side of the end zone. Burley realized he wasn’t going to be able to make a play on the ball, but that he could still prevent the catch and he broke it up even though he wasn’t on top of the receiver.

Option: Henne ran an option play to the left side, pitching to Maurice Jones-Drew on a well-executed snap.

Not long later, Henne easily hit Shorts under the goalpost for a red zone TD.

Detente? I was with some other reporters near the end of the open locker room and we had a fun, spirited chat with Jones-Drew, who was hanging out at a new, still net-less ping-pong table in the middle of the locker room. (Not so spirited that young receiver Tobias Palmer needed to check if MJD wanted his assistance to break free of it. But I found it to be charming naiveté.) MJD and I have some history, about which I try to be up front. We seemed to have benefited from a cooling off period. Perhaps we’ll have a chance to visit with a tape recorder running on Thursday.
» NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

One key positional battle for each AFC South team as training camps get underway.

Houston Texans: Right tackle. There is a lot to sort out at linebacker, and we don’t know who the third receiver is going to be. But we’ll go to the right side of the offensive line, where Derek Newton is coming off knee surgery and third-rounder Brennan Williams has battled a knee injury of his own. Ideally the two would slug it out through camp, but we don’t know when they both will be ready to make a full push for the position. That could give sixth-rounder David Quessenberry the chance to win the job, at least at the start, or prompt the Texans to turn to middling veteran Ryan Harris. It’s a key position that will have a big bearing on how Arian Foster runs and the protection offered to quarterback Matt Schaub.

Indianapolis Colts: Receiver. There is a lot to sort out on the offensive line. But the Colts have question marks at receiver for Andrew Luck in his second season. Reggie Wayne is locked in as the super-reliable top option. But Darrius Heyward-Bey is No. 2 and never lived up to his draft status in Oakland. With a good quarterback in a new system, could he blossom? T.Y. Hilton did some good things as a rookie, and if he minimizes his drops, he can really be productive, particularly from the slot. After that, things thin out. LaVon Brazill is suspended for the first four games. Griff Whalen missed his rookie year hurt.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Quarterback. Once again, the team will be trying to find the guy who can perform best: Blaine Gabbert or Chad Henne. But new general manager David Caldwell, new coach Gus Bradley and a new staff don’t have the investment in Gabbert, the 10th pick in the 2011 draft. Henne has more experience. Both guys played their best when they first started last season. Gabbert fizzled on a bad team, got hurt and was shut down. Henne had a couple of big games, but ultimately didn’t offer much more. Coordinator Jedd Fisch’s system will allow the quarterback to make plays on the move more, which should be advantageous to Gabbert. Mike Kafka and Matt Scott are unlikely to pull an upset.

Tennessee Titans: Cornerback. Although Jason McCourty is locked in as the top guy, the second cornerback slot is up for grabs. Incumbent Alterraun Verner is a smart player with a good knack for slot play. But the team is moving toward more aggressive man-to-man play, and that’s not his forte. Tommie Campbell is physically gifted and fits the mold. The question is whether he can handle it mentally. New senior assistant/defense Gregg Williams did good work as the Titans' defensive coordinator (1997-2000) when there was a similar question with Denard Walker. Rookie third-rounder Blidi Wreh-Wilson also will get a crack at the job.
» NFC Eight in the Box: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

The major question facing each team in the AFC South as summer break looms:

Houston Texans: Even if Derek Newton recovers well from his knee surgery, are they sure he can be good at right tackle? In Newton's first year as the starter there, veteran Ryan Harris still got a share of the snaps. Now the team has to see how Newton recovers, will consider rookies Brennan Williams and David Quessenberry and brought Harris back as veteran insurance. They’ve surely got comfort in numbers, but you’d much rather have a sure thing at the front of the line. If second-year man Brandon Brooks doesn’t play well from the start at right guard, right tackle could be an even bigger problem. And the Texans need to be able to send Arian Foster both left and right to be unpredictable in the run game. They also need to protect Matt Schaub from all angles.

Indianapolis Colts: The team’s biggest defensive moves have been keyed on stopping the run. Outside linebacker Erik Walden is an edge-setter, defensive linemen like Ricky Jean Francois and Aubrayo Franklin should help stop backs and safety LaRon Landry is a force in the box when he’s healthy. If cornerback Greg Toler pans out, he will help the pass rush, and rookie outside 'backer Bjoern Werner could be an impact rusher if he transitions quickly from college end. But can this team consistently rush the passer? The only truly proven rusher on the defense is Robert Mathis, and for the first time he’ll be playing without Dwight Freeney drawing some of the blocking attention. To me, the major question is: Can they rush the passer effectively?

Jacksonville Jaguars: Who is the quarterback? Blaine Gabbert had most-favored status from the last regime, because the general manager of the last regime traded up to draft him 10th overall. That doesn’t mean anything to new GM Dave Caldwell or new coach Gus Bradley. They are looking for a guy who will give them the best chance to improve. If it’s Gabbert, that’s fine. But Chad Henne has said he believes there isn’t a charade element to this competition, and the team is talking as if new addition Mike Kafka and even undrafted rookie Matt Scott have an equally good chance of winning the job. Odds are very high this team will be looking for its long term-quarterback in next year’s draft. In the meantime, opportunity abounds.

Tennessee Titans: All Titans questions start with the quarterback. Jake Locker is now protected by a great offensive line, which should also greatly improve the run game. The new offense will give him a lot of play-action as well as rollouts and bootlegs, which will be threatening because of his extraordinary speed. His short-yardage targets should be dangerous -- Kevin Walter is super reliable; Kendall Wright should blossom; Delanie Walker and Chris Johnson need to be consistently reliable. The deep guys are a solid bunch if healthy. Kenny Britt and Nate Washington are capable of making downfield plays, and the team is super high on rookie Justin Hunter. The defense will be better, which means the Titans will have the ball more. What can Locker do with it?
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Throwing on the move, by design, should be easier than making plays dropping back.

I generally think that, and the Jacksonville Jaguars certainly do too based on what they are doing on offense.

“I think those are easy throws, generally for a quarterback: bootlegs, quick passing game, things like that where he’s on the move,” coach Gus Bradley said. “Easy, but not simple. They’ve still got to execute and we’ve still got to execute things in the protections. But that’s one way of getting a quarterback in a rhythm, by executing some of those passes.”

[+] EnlargeBlaine Gabbert
AP Photo/John RaouxQB Blaine Gabbert on throwing on the run: "The more reps you get throwing on the move, the more comfortable you are."
Wednesday at their final practice of minicamp, I paid particular attention to Blaine Gabbert on the move. And he wasn’t making throws on the run look like simpler plays.

Some of them were throwaways, like a red zone play where he barreled out of bounds right at me and a team staffer and let it fly before he stepped out. You tell a guy to put that one in the stands, and he did the practice equivalent.

“Oh, over the fence,” he said matter of factly but loud enough for the people in the first couple rows to hear.

Later he rolled hard to his right and hit Jordan Shipley on the right sideline, completing the pass against veteran cornerback Marcus Trufant.

Overall though, he struggled on the run just as he did from the pocket.

This week I had the chance to ask Gabbert about throwing on the run.

“The more reps you get throwing on the move the more comfortable you are,” he said. “I felt confident going on the move and that’s a big part of our offense, being able to run keepers and get the ball outside the pocket. It just boils down to getting reps in practice, feeling comfortable with it, going through your progressions on the run and at the end of the day if nothing’s open taking off.”

He and the Jaguars need more work at it.

On this day, in this practice, none of the quarterbacks -- Gabbert, Chad Henne, rookie Matt Scott or newcomer Mike Kafka -- looked very good.

Gabbert threw a red zone TD in team drills, and had another dropped. Henne had a pick that would have been a score the other way dropped.

It’s still the early stages of a new offense. Gabbert still shows a good arm. He’s still got time to get more comfortable.

He is, however, approaching now or never.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have no clear No. 1 quarterback, though I still believe Blaine Gabbert’s going to wind up their best option at the start.

Mike Kafka didn’t work in team drills Wednesday, his first session with the Jaguars since they claimed him off waivers from New England after the Patriots let him go to make room for Tim Tebow.

But Kafka, 25, will get a fair crack at more than a backup job with a team that is preaching competition and giving everyone at virtually every position a chance.

General manager Dave Caldwell said he considered Kafka early in the offseason, but the quarterback already had committed to the Patriots.

In 2011, when Caldwell was part of the Falcons front office, he saw the best of Kafka’s limited NFL work. Michael Vick got hurt, Kafka took over for him and the Eagles and hit on 7-of-9 passes for 72 yards in a game Philadelphia lost 35-31.

Caldwell said Kafka’s got “just as good an opportunity” to win the job as Gabbert, Chad Henne or undrafted rookie Matt Scott.

Kafka said very little in a media session I had to miss but got a transcript of. He’s happy to be here and excited for the opportunity.

Jordan Rodgers is also on the team. He's out until camp after recent sports-hernia surgery.

The Jaguars are one of only two teams currently in the NFL with five quarterbacks on the roster. The other is Philadelphia.
I admire the Jacksonville Jaguars’ restraint so far with regard to quarterbacks in the draft.

They just passed again at No. 98 to lead off the fourth-round, trading the pick to the Philadelphia Eagles for Nos. 101 and 210 in the seventh round. The Eagles took quarterback Matt Barkley.

GM David Caldwell has so many spots to fill that the infrastructure isn’t in place for a quarterback to come in and succeed. The Jaguars can give Blaine Gabbert one final chance, have an alternative in Chad Henne and can draft to fill up a lot of other stuff.

My NFC West colleague Mike Sando points out that often the clock doesn’t really start ticking on a new coach like Gus Bradley until he declares his hand at quarterback, so slow playing that decision can be smart.

The Jaguars are the only team in the league with quarterback uncertainty that hasn’t added something at the position this offseason. They are content to keep it that way, at least for now.

Caldwell is not reactionary and isn’t going to force anything.

If they wind up with a quarterback in this draft, it’ll be because they see someone as a value on their board, not because they are feeling the strain of necessity.

At some point, Ryan Nassib, Tyler Wilson, Tyler Bray, Matt Scott, Landry Jones or Zac Dysert becomes a value, even for a team not craving an addition.

Will AFC West teams net QB?

April, 27, 2013
There are still several quarterbacks available going into the final day of the draft and many league observers expect an early run in the fourth round.

The Kansas City Chiefs, Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers all could draft a developmental quarterback. The Chiefs have the second pick in the fourth round and the Raiders have the third. The Chargers do not because they sent it to Arizona to draft Manti Te'o trade in the second round.

The biggest name available is USC's Matt Barkley. He would fit the Chiefs' system and Oakland general manager Reggie McKenzie attended Barkley's pro day.

He could be an interesting developmental quarterback if either team decides to take a flier. Other quarterbacks available include Tyler Wilson, Ryan Nassib. Zac Dysert, Matt Scott and Tyler Bray.

The Chiefs, Raiders or Chargers could end up taking a quarterback on the final day of the draft. At this point, it’s pretty low risk.
Alex Smith AP Photo/Tony AvelarHad the 49ers elected to keep Alex Smith, he would have counted $8.5 million against their salary cap.
Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc. is here to discuss a potential Alex Smith trade and its likely ramifications less than two weeks before the March 12 start to free agency.

We begin with a look at whether there's any realistic way for the San Francisco 49ers to keep Smith for another season. They would of course like other teams to think there's no urgency to make a deal.

Sando: The 49ers were one of the few teams last season that realistically could have contended for the Super Bowl with either of its top two quarterbacks. They're flush with draft picks in 2013, so adding another one in exchange for Smith wouldn't necessarily help the 49ers as much right away as Smith would help them if something happened to starter Colin Kaepernick. That was one thought that came to mind.

Williamson: You have to move Smith because he is still expensive, he is a proven starter and it is the right thing to do for the player. Usually, that isn't part of the equation, but in some instances, it's just the right thing to do. Let this guy who treated you great and never lost the job start someplace else. That bodes well for the team and everyone pats him on the back. Not to mention, you are going to get something in return, an asset.

Sando: The 49ers are relatively snug against the salary cap as well. The $8.5 million slot currently set aside for Smith could help them re-sign a player or add a starter in free agency. San Francisco currently has four players, including Smith, scheduled to count more than $7 million against the 2013 cap. The other three players are starters. Those are precious salary slots. So, if there's a chance to move a backup scheduled to count that much on the cap, a trade makes sense.

Williamson: You can look at it like, 'OK, we're the best team in the league. We don't have glaring holes in our lineups. We have a ton of picks.' In a weird draft where everyone wants to move down, maybe the 49ers are one of the few teams wanting to move up. Maybe they move from No. 31 to 15 and get a stud defensive lineman to rotate in and be the next guy up front. I would strongly consider a big move up if I'm the 49ers. Adding a pick for Smith helps that. They need to get younger on defense. A stud defensive lineman or a corner could make sense. So could another receiver.

Sando: Backup quarterback would also become a need. What route would you take there?

Williamson: I don't like a lot of the veterans. It's a weak free-agent class. Jason Campbell comes to mind because as backup quarterbacks go, he is slightly above average, maybe. But you would also like to have your backup be more in the Kaepernick mold athletically so you won't have to change the offense too much. Campbell is not that guy. He doesn’t run around. But no free agent comes to mind who would be athletic and someone you could trust to get you out of a game or grind out a win or two.

Sando: Smith is such a security blanket. The 49ers have said they have the best quarterback situation in the league. Going with Kaepernick and some drafted guy would introduce some uncertainty into the situation. That is life in the NFL, however.

Williamson: Yeah, it's a little frightening. You don't want to use too many assets for a guy you hope stays on the bench. You don't want to package two third-round picks to go up and get E.J. Manuel. There are a couple decent athletes in this class. The kid at Arizona (Matt Scott) is intriguing as a developmental, toolsy guy who could run. But you can't make sure he's there in the fourth. You could do a little of both. You could go in with Kaepernick as the one, Scott Tolzein as the four, get a C-level veteran after the first couple waves of free agency and then use a third- or fourth-rounder on a guy to cover yourself.

Sando: Let's take a look at this situation from Smith's perspective. If you're him, you might want to be released so you can find work on your own terms. That seems unlikely to happen, so if you're him, where are you hoping the 49ers send you?

Williamson: I think we've seen the best of Alex Smith. Jim Harbaugh got it out of him. Smith is a limited passer. If I am him, I don't want to go to Buffalo, Cleveland or the Jets -- bad-weather places. I'm not sold that he can be an effective cold-weather playoff quarterback driving the ball through the elements. Kansas City isn't in the tropics, but of all the places, that might be the best one for Smith. The Chiefs could keep Dwayne Bowe, they have a good offensive line, Andy Reid is a quarterback guru and the running back is in place. I thought they would win the division last year. They just turned the ball over a ridiculous amount of times. If the Chiefs last year would have had Alex Smith and one of his low-interception seasons, they would have been respectable and maybe even .500.

Sando: But it still sounds like you're calling Smith a placeholder until a team like Kansas City can find the next guy.

Williamson: Kansas City should trade for Smith, then wait until next year to go get its guy instead of reaching on Geno Smith or a second-round guy it doesn't love. That is my hunch of what they are doing there. It's just such a sellers' market for quarterbacks and perfect for the 49ers. The other team it is good for is the Eagles with Nick Foles. I don't think Foles fits the Chip Kelly system, no matter what they say.

Sando: We've talked about Smith. You've mentioned Foles. What about the market for Seattle's Matt Flynn?

Williamson: Smith is better than Flynn. I think Flynn is a backup. He really doesn't throw the football very well. His arm strength is a problem. He is not a playmaker. He is a pretty much a game-manager, a smart guy who has gotten the most from what he has, capitalized on a great situation in Green Bay to have a couple big games with a great supporting cast, but I don’t want him as my starter. That showed this time last year. He was a free agent for a while. It wasn't like teams were beating at his door. Then he quickly lost the job. The Seahawks loved Russell Wilson, but not enough to take him in the first or second round.

Sando: Flynn's contract is scheduled to count $7.25 million against the salary cap in 2013. That is nearly as much as the $8.5 million hit associated with Smith's contract in San Francisco. However, the 49ers have much more cap room to gain by trading their backup quarterback. They would save the entire $8.5 million if they moved Smith before April 1. The Seahawks would save $5.25 million in salary, but they would still have to account for $4 million in cap charges associated with the signing bonus Flynn received as a potential starter last season. They could push a couple million into the future, but either way, the savings wouldn't be as great. And it's questionable whether Seattle could get sufficient value in return.

Wiliamson: If you trade Flynn, you have to find somebody and do you want to use a draft pick or find a free agent? Because you cannot go with what you have. There's no other quarterback on the roster.

Sando: That might be a conversation for another day. Smith's situation is paramount now. We didn't even discuss the Arizona Cardinals' reported interest in him. I don't see the 49ers making a deal within the division. If they do, we'll have even more to talk about.