Now that the move to start rookie quarterback Blaine Gabbert has been made, we have to ask. Will the move save the Jaguars' season? To answer that, we first have to ask; does the Jaguars' season need to be saved?
The Jaguars had a bad game against the Jets. I've been trying to be logical all week, and all come out front and say this. I was wrong to support Luke McCown as the starter. There. I said it. Here's why I was wrong. This team isn't as good as I thought they were. My expectations were too high, but let me be very up front about something else. I still think this team can make the playoffs. Here's the problem. It would take great play from Gabbert for them to do so.
Starting Blaine Gabbert is certainly a risky move. Jack Del Rio has to know that he's coaching for his job, and the Jaguars are playing for Del Rio's job. There's a lot of big-name coaches that could use a new job, and Del Rio has to be feeling the pressure.
In all reality, I don't expect Blaine Gabbert to take the Jaguars to the post-season this season. At this point, considering the current quarterback situation, I expect the Jaguars to finish at or near .500 for the season. That's not terrible, but this re-building project is taking longer than I really expected it to. The Jaguars have been cursed by being near the middle of the pack. They've been drafting right around 10th, and that's slowed down the process. Look at the Lions. That's a team that's been drafting in the top ten for years. Since they cleaned house, they've been hitting on most of their picks, and it's now showing on the field.
So, does the Jaguars' season need to be saved? If we're talking about making the playoffs, yes. If we're talking about playing competitive football week in and week out, I don't think so, but it's too early to tell. Now we need to answer our other question. Is Blaine Gabbert the guy to save their season this year? I think he can be, especially if the defense can continue to play well. The Jaguars will also need to lean on their running game. With a balanced offense, I think Gabbert can be the most effective rookie quarterback in the league this year.
I've lowered my expectations for the season. A playoff birth is still possible. Don't write that off just yet. Just taper your expectations some. There will be road bumps, but Blaine Gabbert can become a great quarterback if he's given time to develop. It may not be a playoff year for the Jaguars, but I think it moves the Jaguars one step closer.
Here's the downside. If the Jaguars don't make the playoffs, they'll be starting over with a new head coach next season. The possibility of having a new HC next season is starting to look very likely, and I'm curious who the candidates could be. Let's try not to put the wagon in front of the horse and focus on this week. We could learn a lot about Gabbert this weekend. I don't know about you, but I'm excited to see the game this weekend. You should be too.