Blaine Gabbert intends to play.
How he plays with an injured left shoulder and star running back Maurice Jones-Drew out of the lineup will go a long way toward writing the next chapter of his story with the Jaguars.
They need him to play well now more than ever. Can he pick up where he left off when he was knocked out of a very good showing against the Raiders? Or Sunday in Green Bay, will he fall back to the level we’ve seen far more often than not?
“We just started clicking on offense (against the Raiders),” he told Jacksonville reporters Wednesday. “We had the run game going had the play-action and Cecil (Shorts) made great play on the ball down the field. When you’re in kind of that zone and have the momentum you want to keep things rolling. It was an unfortunate situation that things kind of unfolded the way they did. We have to do our best to regain momentum in those situations and keep putting points on the board.”
Players are forbidden by coach Mike Mularkey from discussing injury details -- never mind that it’s their bodies, not his -- and Gabbert abided by that in his Wednesday press conference, per a transcript provided by the team.
Asked if there was less pain Wednesday than Sunday, he said: “There is always going to be something. You’re always going to be in pain whether it’s your arms, legs, knees, neck, that’s just part of the game, it’s part of the sport. You just have to manage it and deal with it the best you can.”
“… I don’t think I’ve ever missed a game except for high school. It’s just something you have to manage. You have to deal with those guys that are dinged up in here on a daily basis, but it’s just something you have to put your mind over matter and still perform at a high level.”
He said he threw “a couple passes” on Tuesday and that he did not travel to visit Dr. James Andrews, as had been reported. Like Mularkey, he wouldn’t confirm a reported diagnosis of a torn labrum. Wednesday's injury report rated him as a full participant.
Mularkey is in a difficult spot. He's getting ready for a tough opponent and needs his young starting quarterback to get all the practice he can to be ready. But if that signal-caller is knocked out of the game, the backup, Chad Henne, won't have had much work. And Henne didn't play well in relief last week not having had much practice work.
“To say I am not totally concerned is not true," Mularkey said. "There’s an ounce of it, but these guys do enough things defensively that Blaine needs to see as many reps as he possibly can so he’s well-prepared.”
What happens when Gabbert take the first hit on the shoulder?
“I’ll get right back up and take another one,” he said.
It sounds good in theory and we admire his determination. We’ll have to see how it goes in actual practice at Lambeau Field.