As if the Jacksonville Jaguars did not already have the weight of the NFL world on its shoulders after its 28-2 loss to Kansas City, the team must now prepare for Oakland this week with its backup quarterback taking the reins while starter Blaine Gabbert heals from a nasty laceration to his throwing hand.
The wound, which required 15 stitches to close, was said to have torn some of the skin away.
That’s awfully painful, if you ask me. And, this was the hand Gabbert had been resting the last 22 days prior to the start of the NFL season because it was fractured in the second preseason game of the year against the New York Jets.
When it rains, it pours in north Florida.
According to a story in the Florida Times-Union on Tuesday, the team’s medical staff told head coach Gus Bradley the risk of the stitches opening up and the risk of infection were too great to allow Gabbert to practice or play on Sunday.
Whether the third-year quarterback will play in the team’s third game of the season against Seattle is unknown. What is known is this is another opportunity for the Jaguars to rally around backup Chad Henne. And after a pause, maybe this gives the Jaguars the chance to re-evaluate the quarterback situation.
I’m not saying the team should go out and trade for someone else (yet). What I am saying is Gabbert is the younger, more athletic quarterback and this team needs to find out if he is another Alex Smith or he is Tim Couch. Right now, it is more Couch and Dan McGwire than anything.
The injury, in my opinion, does three things
* Gives Gabbert the proper time to heal a hand that may have been rushed back to the lineup too soon. If Gabbert can come back in say two or three weeks, we may see the athlete we saw at the end of his training camp.
* Allows Henne to show if he can move the offense in any direction forward. The team missed Justin Blackmon (out four games) and Marcedes Lewis (calf injury) last week. It looked like there was an APB out on Cecil Shorts as well.
* Gives Bradley and general manager time to think. I doubt they will pull the trigger on any move other than play with the players they already have. But this is the NFL, players are released every week.
Here are some other things that have to be considered because of this injury
* The injury to Gabbert will also (and already has led) to a firestorm of questions regarding Tim Tebow. You heard it here first, second, and third. Tim Tebow would not be an upgrade to the team’s quarterback situation. And having him here to sell tickets is the same thing the New York Jets basically did in burying him on the sidelines last season.
* Who is out there? Does Vince Young look appealing? Do they kick the tires on possibly trading for Kirk Cousins of Washington or even Nick Foles of Philadelphia (my choice to be here in the first place).
* Does Matt Moore in Miami make sense (yes) and can Pat Devlin be Ryan Tannehill’s backup in south Florida?
* And just so you know, Rex Grossman is still in the league and Matt Flynn is on the sidelines in Oakland (interesting parallel there).
The Jaguars are more than a few steps from being mediocre in this league right now. An injury more than compounded that. The team must keep on moving through whatever barriers they have and when the time is right, continue to play Gabbert unless he is out for an extended period of time and Chad Henne proves he can win with this group (Oakland, Seattle and Indianapolis are next in line). Should Henne win two of those contests (won’t happen) then he should remain the starter. If not, this is a team that must play through the pain of Gabbert behind center and see what happens.
And I am talking about the pain of watching the offense get better or worse, not the pain he may be experiencing in his throwing hand. Compared to the issues with the organization, that pain is minimal at best.