The Jaguars kept starting Blaine Gabbert at quarterback far after it was clear that he wasn't a viable starter. But at some point the team had to finally pull the plug, and it appears that time is now.
Gabbert is healthy and back at practice but Chad Henne will continue to start at quarterback, coach Gus Bradley said. And it sounded like that will be the arrangement for the foreseeable future.
#Jaguars HC Gus Bradley said Henne will start with Gabbert as the backup. Says team will start Henne and "see where it takes us."
— John Oehser (@JohnOehser) October 23, 2013
Odd things happen in the NFL, and it's certainly no guarantee that Henne stays healthy or plays well enough the rest of the season to keep the job, but for all practical purposes this appears to be the end of Gabbert's chances in Jacksonville.
And if this is how it ends, Gabbert will go down as every bit the draft bust as JaMarcus Russell, Ryan Leaf, Akili Smith, Heath Shuler and that whole list we're quite familiar with.
Gabbert, the questionable 10th pick of the 2011 draft, never showed any signs of being a viable starting NFL quarterback. His 66.4 career quarterback rating is just a hair ahead of Russell's 65.2. Gabbert started 27 games and the Jaguars were an astonishing 5-22 in those games. That's far from all his fault, the Jaguars' roster has been bad for years, but his inability to function when under any pressure was his fatal flaw. And, of course, the Jaguars compounded the mistake by passing on quarterback Russell Wilson in the 2012 draft to select a punter, one of the most inexcusable picks in recent NFL history (we may have mentioned that here before).
That Gabbert will stay on the bench isn't a seismic shift in the Jaguars' long-term plans. Everyone has known for weeks they're a lock to draft a quarterback early in the 2014 draft, and at 0-7 have the inside track for the first overall pick. It's just a sad reminder of a wasted draft pick and a few miserable years for the franchise.
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