Posted by Gregg Rosenthal on August 6, 2011, 1:46 PM EDT
The back tightness that has kept Jaguars quarerback David Garrard sidelined for a few days is not expected to be a major problem. It will, however, keep him out of Saturday night’s team scrimmage.
“I’m pretty sure everybody wants to see 11 anyway,” Garrard told Tania Ganguli of the Florida Times-Union, referring to rookie Blaine Gabbert. “But I’m feeling good, I’m feeling optimistic about things.”
Coach Jack Del Rio had said Thursday that he would be surprised if Garrard sat out the scrimmage. Garrard’s absence will put a bigger spotlight on Gabbert, who has reportedly looked good thus far in camp.
“What I saw on the Jacksonville Jaguars’ practice field Thursday night from Gabbert, the team’s top pick in the April draft, is like nothing I’ve witnessed on any of the Jaguars’ practice fields in the 16 years they’ve been in existence,” Pete Prisco of CBSSports.com writes.
He sees a rookie that he believes is ahead of the curve and has a better chance to start than people think.
“He looked like a franchise quarterback. If he plays like one in the preseason, there is little doubt that Del Rio would hesitate to pull the trigger and make him the starter,” Prisco says.
That makes Saturday night’s scrimmage and Jacksonville’s upcoming preseason games a lot more interesting.
I am not surprised at all that we are continuing to hear praise reports out of Jacksonville about the young gunslinger. Last year during the lead up to the draft I felt that Gabbert was another quarterback who's value was being inflated by the pre-draft hype machine. Gabbert's collegiate numbers were relatively unimpressive compared to his predecessor Chase Daniel. And like Daniel, he was in a spread offense.
Then I started to watch him play and some of the pre-draft interviews. During this process you could see a long and athletic young man that had all the physical tools to be that franchise QB, but it was more than that. Then there started to be reports from multiple NFL sources including Mike Mayock, who all started to become immediately impressed when they had a chance to meet Gabbert in person. I remember Charles Davis repeatedly saying that he had presence, and it really made him stand out. Then I watched playmakers where Steve Mariucci spent time with Gabbert and Ponder, and you could see that Gabbert was bright, enthusiastic about the game, and coachable. The young man has charisma and charm to go with the the physical tools. The leadership will just be a natural role for him as he gets his feet under him.
David Garrard may hold the job for a while, and rightfully so. He is an above average QB, but he is a good leader. The Jags players believe in him and are behind him, but it won't be long before they also believe in Blaine.