Training Camp Battle: Blaine Gabbert vs. Chad Henne
I'm one of the biggest Gabbert haters around, always have been, but I'll come to his defense before I rip him apart. First of all, he's a rookie. Expecting a raw rookie quarterback to succeed will almost always leave you disappointed. Also, his receivers were pathetic last season. The leading receiver was tight end Marcedes Lewis who finished with a mere 460 yards on 39 catches and no touchdowns. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew finished second on the team with 43 receptions, just one less than team leader Mike Thomas. Now their low production does have somewhat to do with Gabbert's lack of ability, but I'm not sure Joe Montana could have had a good season with these guys catching his passes. Despite that, Gabbert's incompetence is shown by more than his offensive production.
The reason I find Mularkey's comment about Gabbert's confidence so absurd is because I don't think I have ever seen a quarterback sit in the pocket with less poise. He looks like a squirrel surrounded by hungry bears when he drops back. That's something that can't be taught. Certain guys have the ability to feel the pass rush and hang in there ready to throw until they need to make a move. Gabbert can't do that, and I don't think he ever will. He led the league in yards lost on sacks, despite only starting 14 games. I'm a Raiders fan. I watched JaMarcus Russell struggle with the same problem, and I painfully endured his career while the problem was never resolved. Don't give me any "no he was bad because of accuracy." He was inaccurate because he was scared. He was plenty accurate in college when he was facing an NCAA pass rush. He had far more talent than Gabbert and never solved his pocket presence issues. Gabbert won't either.