While I was in Jacksonville, trying to see what was different about Blaine Gabbert, I saw one play that looked like a disaster.
He dropped back and after a couple beats, despite no pressure, he pulled the ball down and scooted left. Once out there, again with no discernable pressure, he didn’t wait very long and he threw the ball away.
I noted it, thoroughly, unimpressed.
But even on a play that looks so bad that doesn’t mean everything is his fault. When I asked offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch about that specific play a day later, here’s what he said:
“We went the wrong way. When he went to look deep and it wasn’t there, he turned to his left to throw it to the back, and he wasn’t there. The back was over here [points to opposite side of the field]. SO then it’s get out of it, throw it out of bounds, live another play.
“Guys that are under the microscope, those things get evaluated in a different way. I told him that was one of the best plays he had in that practice."
So, a cautionary reminder: It’s easy to blame a guy without knowing the design of the play that fell apart.
It’s a great reason for teams to make players and coaches available to discuss them. And a great reminder to all of us to take every chance to ask what happened instead of presuming we know.
The three days I saw, Gabbert looked about the same as he looked in the summer, which wasn’t all that different than how he looked last summer.
He’ll have a good stretch and a bad one. He’ll make a couple throws that leave you wondering what he was looking at. Even if someone else did something wrong, surely he can sometimes see where the guy actually is as opposed to where he’s supposed to be. Not all the throws are anticipatory.
“We want him to have a quiet mind, so when he gets out there, there is no clutter.” Fisch said. “And then he can go out there and have fun playing the game because he knows where everybody is. And when he knows where everybody is, he can rip some pretty good throws.”