This week he’ll face one of his seven former head coaches in Tennessee Titans coach Mike Mularkey, who coached Gabbert with the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012. That season together -- of which Gabbert played just 10 games before going on injured reserve with an arm injury -- will help Mularkey a bit, but there isn’t much tape, just three games worth. Gabbert's current system is his fifth since their season together.
“I know him a little bit,” Mularkey said. “I do know some things there but you’d like more tape -- starting tape -- where he’s gotten full games in. We’ve got three and that’s all we can work with.”
Gabbert was dismissive of his short time with Mularkey.
Asked what kind of impact Mularkey had on his career, Gabbert referred to his stint on injured reserve that season and his limited action under Mularkey.
“So, I don’t know,” Gabbert said.
But Mularkey has seen growth out of the 28-year-old Gabbert, who he coached as a 23-year-old.
“He just looks much more comfortable,” Mularkey said. “Obviously, his seventh year in the league, he’s had a lot more starts now. He’s seen a lot more football. I had him in 2012. That was a long time ago.”
This season has been one long reunion tour for Gabbert. He has faced both his former teams in the Jaguars and the San Francisco 49ers, as well as saw his first offensive coordinator, Dirk Koetter, when the Tampa Bay Bucaneers came to Arizona earlier this season while Gabbert was still the third-string quarterback. And on Sunday, he’ll face Mularkey, who was his third head coach.
Despite having played for as many coaches and in as many systems as Gabbert has, Mularkey has admired Gabbert’s resolve from afar.
“Tough duty,” Mularkey said. “Tough on a guy, tough on a quarterback, a very tough situation he was put in. I thought he handled it very well for the circumstances he had to deal with.”