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Jaguars' Mularkey unwavering in support of Gabbert

The SportsXchange

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey is willing to risk his future on the right arm of quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

With the Jaguars at 1-8, Mularkey needs some victories if he is going to keep his job.

But he's sticking with Gabbert even though the quarterback has suffered a shoulder injury twice in the past four games, is running the worst offense in the league and threw a pick-six against the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth quarter of a 27-10 loss Thursday night.

Mularkey rejected the notion of going to backup Chad Henne in an attempt to get a spark.

He said Gabbert, who suffered an injury to his left non-throwing shoulder in Oakland and aggravated it against the Colts, will remain the starter as long as the doctors clear him to play.

And with the weekend to rehab, Mularkey said he has no concern about him being ready to play against Houston a week from Sunday. He said the injury didn't appear serious enough to have another MRI.

When Gabbert was asked after the game if he expects to play in Houston, he said, "I'm going to do my best and be ready to roll."

In the first game against Houston, Gabbert completed only 7 of 19 passes for 53 yards.

Mularkey also declined to confirm reports that Gabbert has a torn labrum as he continues to call it a shoulder injury.

"I think we're going to take a look at it when he comes back in here. He's going to get treatment all weekend long and we're going to see where he is Monday in practice," Mularkey said.

Mularkey indicated he could have gone back into the game, but they held him out since they were trailing, 27-3.

"I just didn't want to put him back in there with what the score was, where it was in the game," he said.

Henne finished up and threw a four-yard touchdown pass to Cecil Shorts for the team's only score.

When Mularkey was asked if a quarterback switch might change the dynamic of a 1-8 team that has lost six consecutive games, he said, "I don't think so, no."

Quarterbacks traditionally get too much credit for success and too much blame for failure, but Mularkey said Gabbert is not the only reason the offense isn't functioning well.

"I don't think it's one guy. You always go to that guy (for blame). Not in here. Everybody is held accountable for why the offense is not functioning at a high level consistently, and I think that goes for everybody. That's including the coaches.

"We have to do better jobs of getting guys open better. Everybody's responsible. I believe and I think we can always make each other better. Each position can play off each other, but we've all got to play at a high level and coach at a high level for it to go. Not just one guy," Mularkey said.

The Jaguars also have problem with protection and with the receivers not getting open or dropping the ball, but Gabbert has also misfired on a lot of passes.

"Yeah and he's got to do better at that, too. A lot of things can go into that, too. Everybody's got to play better, including Blaine, and everybody around him and us as coaches," he said.

Mularkey said one reason to stick with Gabbert is that he's only in his second year and needs a lot of playing time to improve.

"There is no better practice that what is going on with him every Sunday or Thursday night. You cannot simulate what takes place on every play, the speed of that, I don't care how you practice. This is what he needs," he said.
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