Poor receiving, protection haunting Gabbert

Posted Sept. 27, 2012 @ 3:44 p.m.
Posted By Arthur Arkush

The Jaguars traded up in the first round to select WR Justin Blackmon and signed veteran WR Laurent Robinson to a lucrative free-agent contract this offseason because they knew QB Blaine Gabbert needed more weapons in the passing game to be successful.

Through three weeks of his second season, Gabbert still needs more help in the passing game.

It’s a familiar refrain — and one Jaguars fans are quickly tiring of — but it’s true: Gabbert has not had sufficient protection from an injury-riddled offensive line and he hasn’t had the luxury of consistently counting on receivers who can create separation and hang on to the ball.

Head coach Mike Mularkey acknowledged this week that drops — a problem which dates back to camp — remains an issue. (Robinson has three drops and Blackmon, who Mularkey said is pressing and needs to be more patient as a route runner, dropped an easy short throw from Gabbert in Week Three.)

The good news is that Gabbert has made plays in crunch time, with Cecil Shorts proving to be his go-to receiver at the end of games. What’s more, as the offensive line continues to get healthy, TE Marcedes Lewis, who has been asked to block more because of protection issues since his strong Week One outing, should get more opportunities to assist in the passing game.

But the Jaguars are still waiting for the players they identified as the solution to their passing woes to do more to solve the problem that still very much exists.