Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

18 Oct 2012

When Should the Jaguars Give Up on Blaine Gabbert?

Chase Stuart surveys the recent history of first-round quarterbacks and concludes that teams almost never give up on them too soon.

Posted by: Rivers McCown on 18 Oct 2012

44 comments, Last at 22 Oct 2012, 1:22pm by Jericho


by Dean :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 9:35am

This article may or may not be accurate, but it instantly loses credibility by referencing Total QBR.

by Danish Denver-Fan :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 9:52am

I hate comments like this. There a hole bunch of thing wrong with ESPNs QBR, but the same can be said about Passer Rating, NY/A, ANY/Y, DVOA, DYAR or whatever your preferred metric is.

If say QBR and the (in my oppinion) superior ANY/A agree that Blaine Gabbert sucks, and i cite both of them it's a much stronger proof that Gabbert actually does suck, than if I'd only cited ANY/A.

by TomKelso :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 9:55am

Of all the statistical measures listed here, is there one that says Gabbert ISN'T wretched?

by Guido Merkens :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 10:39am

Your first paragraph makes a good point.

However, what you're missing is that QBR is a backward-looking metric: it bases its rating partially on game situation in an attempt to show "clutch" performance. This might help the metric more fully explain what happened in a previous game, but nothing indicates that "clutch" performance is repeatable, so QBR therefore does a worse job predicting future performance than metrics such as DVOA or ANY/A.

In an article like this, the focus is on predicting future performance - determining whether Gabbert will ever be an effective NFL player. Thus, QBR is the wrong metric to use. Shoehorning it into an article just because it's been forcibly popularized by ESPN DOES hurt the credibility of the article.

by Independent George :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:56am

And that's exactly how TFA uses QBR: it uses it to make a quick summary of his past performance, and then moves on to use the much better NY/A to predict future performance. He never once uses QBR as anything other than a rough metric of past performance.

The reader loses more credibility to me for ignoring an article because it uses an imperfect statistic than does the author for using that same statistic correctly.

by Dean :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:03am

Hate it all you want, but when the first stat they trot out includes an adjustment for "clutch" play, yes, the whole article loses credibility. I stand by that assessment, even if it hurts your feelings.

by Ranccor :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 1:47pm

Correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't DVOA includes adjustments for "clutch" actions (late and close is slightly more valuable than early or with a huge lead).

by Jimmy :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 3:06pm

Not quite, estimated wins places extra weight on late and close DVOA.

by tuluse :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 3:58pm

DVOA also discounts production after a game gets out of hand, but I don't think it includes any bonus for late and close.

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 9:57am

So since Football Outsiders lists Total QBR on the quarterback stats page does it instantly lose credibility?

QBR may not be a good stat, but it's no worse that the old passer rating, and the article referenced it for one line, then ignored it for the rest of the article which focused on net yards per attempt. I read it as the author knows that some of his readers still want to reference some sort of total QB rating metric but like many football fans don't like passer rating and may not know about DVOA, so I'll give them a line with something and QBR does seem to be better accepted to a wider audience so I'll use that.

by CraigoMc (not verified) :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:42am

What evidence is there that it's better than the admittedly poor passer rating?

by DisplacedPackerFan :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:49am


Since most of us here agree that VOA/DVOA and ANY/A do a better job of rating QB's and QBR is more closely related to VOA/DVOA and ANY/A than passer rating, that seems to be evidence that it rates QB's better than passer rating.

by Hurt Bones :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 10:04am

Yesterday or maybe the day before.

by Marko :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 2:12pm

I don't think that's far back enough. I was already going to say "When they buy a time machine and can go back to the 2011 Draft and choose somebody else."

by cisforcookie (not verified) :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 10:34am

drew brees

by Aloysius Mephis... :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:25am

The Chargers didn't really give up on Brees. Or at least to the extent they did it was because of health concerns combined with having another really good quarterback on the roster already, not because they doubted his skills.

by are-tee :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:34am

Actually, the Chargers sort of gave up on Brees in 2004 when they drafted Eli and traded him for Rivers. I believe Rivers held out and missed all of training camp so they were forced to start the season with Brees and Doug Flutie as his backup. The rest is history.

by Aloysius Mephis... :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:37am

Fair point.

by clark :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:40am

Drew Brees was actually drafted at the top of the 2nd round in 2001, and they were looking to move on in 2004 when they acquired Rivers. However, Rivers held out and wasn't ready when the season started, so Brees got one more chance and finally established himself.

by Anonymous Jones :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 3:03pm

Brees is a very interesting example. He sat on the bench one year, then had a so-so first year of starting in 2002. He regressed in 2003, and it looked grim (not Gabbert grim, but grim). SD had the number 1 draft pick in the next draft, which is why it made a lot of sense to do the Rivers-Manning thing.

Then, in 2004, Brees started with an OK game against Houston, but in his home opener against the Jets, he was horrific. The stats don't even convey how bad he was in that game (prior to being pulled in the last five minutes). He was rifling the ball way over the receivers' heads when just a little touch would have yielded completion after completion. He gets yet another chance in Denver the next week. He'd had well over 30 starts at this point, and he was put on the notice the previous week that he could and would be pulled for Flutie at any time. He has, perhaps, an even worse game. In another circumstance, this well might have been his last chance. If Rivers had been ready, the short-in-stature Brees almost certainly would never have started another game for the Chargers except in the case of injury.

And then, all of a sudden, everything changes. He has a great game against Tennessee. He stops throwing interceptions. His completion rate shoots up. His YPA shoots up. And he goes on to become one of the best QBs on his generation.

by 40oz to Freedom (not verified) :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 3:59pm

Yeah, Brees is an example of how a team could mismanage a QB. The Jets game that went badly for him partially because he had a concussion. Back then, if you were "a little woozy" you were weak and Schottenheimer was an old-school coach, so you got benched until he felt like it. Schottenheimer also had the bad habit of pulling Brees from games instead of letting him finish and learn.

Generally, the front office and the coaching staff weren't supportive of Brees and they already made their decision by drafting Rivers in 2004. Nevermind the fact their O-line was inconsistent in 2002-2003, their wide receivers sucked, the 2003 defense was so bad a new DC was hired (Wade Phillips) for 2004, and their old GM John Butler died in 2003. The Chargers were a team in transition and seemed to blame Brees for their problems.

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 10/19/2012 - 5:48am

Also Trent Green? I know he doesn't fit the artificially narrow constraints the author chose, but I think he's a good example of a QB a team (the Redskins) gave up on too early (after only one year with any actual playing time). He was pretty good for St. Louis and Kansas City afterward.

by Jericho (not verified) :: Mon, 10/22/2012 - 1:19pm

That's not really fair. The Redskins did not "give up" on Trent Green. First, they pulled Green off the scrap heap. He was an 8th round pick and "played" for San Diego (well, was on their roster) before getting cut and going to the CFL. The Redskins pulled him back into the league. He basically rode the pine until 1998, when injuries (to Gus Frerotte) allowed him to play. After the season, he was a free agent and the Redskins did try to resign him. He was never cut by them. He chose more money from St. Louis to sign there. The Redskins in turn traded for Brad Johnson.

by speedegg :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 10:54am

The Jaguars should probably give up on Gabbert by the end of the season if the coaches have no faith in his ability. Gabbert's numbers and games look bad, but worse Greg Cosell said he,"falls away from throws" and collapses under pressure or in a "muddy" pocket. This reduces his accuracy and power, which results in INTs or missed throws.

Funny, Chase Stuart barely mentioned the Atlanta Falcons QB who was drafted in the second round of 1991 draft. That QB, who shall not be named, only lasted 1 year before being traded to Green Bay for the 19th overall pick next season. Of course, that head coach was Jerry Glanville.

by commissionerleaf :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:46am

The Falcons gave up on Michael Vick too soon?

by speedegg :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 4:54pm

It was Favre...AGH!! I said it, he'll come back!

by andrew :: Sat, 10/20/2012 - 10:41am

Invoking the name of the grizzled one is like saying "Macbeth" in a theater....

by JagsFan (not verified) :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 11:52am

As a Jags Fan & watching Gabbert play many, many games I have this to say. Gabbert looked like an NFL QB vs the Vikings in Week 1, since then he's regressed back to Gabbert 1.0. The problem with Gabbert is he still has no idea how to read an NFL defense, which means 90% of his passes are around the line of scrimmage. Before the play he already predetermines who he will throw the ball to. He doesn't go through reads because he doesn't like getting hit. He also has no internal clock & has no idea when to run or when a good time to get rid of the ball. His one positive he has an above-average arm.

Throughout all this does that mean he will get better with time, probably he was a spread option QB @ Mizzou with no time in an NFL system & is the youngest starting QB in the NFL. The only problem is did Jack Del Dumbass ruin him by starting him WAY to early (See Carr, David)

by tomdrees :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 5:16pm

"JagsFan (not verified)" makes me laugh.

by 40oz to Freedom (not verified) :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 5:25pm

I liked the nickname Jack Del "Dumbass".

by andrew :: Sat, 10/20/2012 - 10:43am

The vikings secondary often has that effect on would-be quarterbacks.

by justanothersteve :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 12:25pm

Rodgers looked like crap his first year and wasn't much better his second. Nobody noticed because Ol' Stubbleface wasn't ready to retire. It was only in his third year (his second under McCarthy) that he didn't look like a possible wasted draft pick. Someone else brought up Brees. I think with all the recent quick successes like Luck and Newton, people have gotten impatient with QBs. Gabbert especially would have been helped by sitting on the bench a year like Locker. Not saying Gabbert will be a quality NFL starter. But I think it's too early to give up on him.

by The Ninjalectual :: Fri, 10/19/2012 - 5:47am

Newton, and who? Luck? You don't think RGIII is a better example?

by justanothersteve :: Fri, 10/19/2012 - 9:07am

RGIII also. I could also add Roethlisberger, Brady, and several others. What's your point?

by johonny (not verified) :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 1:48pm

If the football outsider previous article this year is right and most QBs make their biggest jump in year two of starting... then it is fair to say probably next offseason is the time to start thinking about competition for Gabbert. It isn't that Blaine might not be a late developing QB, it is just there is no way to know if he is or isn't and the team would be smart to hedge its bets. Sure Drew Brees example exists but so don't countless QBs that never made the Drew Brees jump. The average QB doesn't make that jump.

by cisforcookie (not verified) :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 2:14pm

I think we have to assume that unless gabbert gets it together to a large degree this year that the jags and chiefs will be picking 1-2 next spring, and each will take a qb.

by TheSlinger :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 6:07pm

You're assuming that there are 2 QBs worth taking that high and at this point that doesn't look to be the case.

by dbostedo :: Thu, 10/18/2012 - 8:13pm

Well Kiper currently has Matt Barkley at 2 and Geno Smith at 7 on his big board. That's high enough that they could be 1 and 2 in the draft depending on team needs...

by justanothersteve :: Fri, 10/19/2012 - 12:52am

Frankly, I don't care what Herr Helmethair says.

by zenbitz :: Sun, 10/21/2012 - 9:35pm

If you're the Jags, do you trade Gabbert for Alex Smith? If you're the Niners?

by BigCheese :: Mon, 10/22/2012 - 4:20am

If I'm the Jags, no, because Alex Smith isn't the answer and I'd much rather draft a QB next year.

If I'm the Niners, not in a million yeas, since I'd rather roll the dice with Kappernick than Gabbert.

And that doesn't even take into account the fact that Smith is on a 1-year deal (and Gabbert isn't), which is a negative factor for BOTH teams, and makes any trade for him pretty much impossible with anyone.

- Alvaro

Phil Simms is to analysts what Ryan Leaf is to NFL QBs

by willisisgod (not verified) :: Sun, 10/21/2012 - 9:49pm

Alex Smith might be good comparison. He had a terrifying Rookie year with a terrible roster but given his situation had a decent second year and proved he could take a beating. So since he isn't very tough and has average talent I see his ceiling in the Jim Mcmahon/Brian Greise realm which means move on or build an elite defense in a hurry.

by Revenge of the NURBS (not verified) :: Mon, 10/22/2012 - 11:33am

"When Should the Jaguars Give Up on Blaine Gabbert?"


A Colts fan

by Jericho (not verified) :: Mon, 10/22/2012 - 1:22pm

Ultimately depends on what the options are. There's no point in benching Gabbert to play Chad Henne. Henne is not the solution. The Jaguars suck with or without Gabbert. They don't need to win now. The only reason to bench/dump Gabbert is for a real long-term answer. That would mean another high draft pick. If they're in a position in April to draft someone, that possibility has to be examined. But its on a case-by-case basis.