Tag:Blaine Gabbert
Posted on: February 23, 2012 11:45 am
Edited on: February 23, 2012 12:32 pm
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Jags owner: stadium tarps are like underachieving

Shahid Khan 'absolutely' wants to get rid of those tarps that cover seats in EverBank Field. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Just in case the five wins in 2011 or the .500-or-worse records dating back to 2008 didn't make it obvious enough, new Jaguars owner Shahid Khan would like to add another item to the list of "sure signs your franchise is a failure." Those infernal tarps that cover seats in the upper deck of EverBank Field.

Officially, the stadium has 76,867 seats but the tarps cover some 10,000 seats. But the notion that fans don't support the hometown team is inaccurate. It's just that the stadium is too big for the NFL market. (And this isn't a slap at Jacksonville; Pittsburgh's Heinz Field holds fewer than 70,000, as does Indy's Lucas Oil Stadium.)

The Florida Times-Union's Tania Ganguli wrote about this Wednesday.

"The tarps aren't as shameful as they're perceived to be nationally. They bring the size of the stadium down to an appropriate size for the market, and it still seats more than the stadiums of NFL teams in bigger markets, including the Chicago Bears."

As PFT notes, EverBank Stadium has to be expanded to more than 80,000 for the Georgia-Florida game because the NFL isn't as popular as college football in Florida. Khan hopes to change that and it starts with those tarps.

"Absolutely," Khan told Sports Business Journal's Daniel Kaplan when asked if he hoped to do away with the tarps altogether. "To me, every day I look at the tarps it is like underachieving, and I can’t wait to be able to do that."

Khan was also asked about new marketing and sales initiatives.

The new owner with the new head coach. (US PRESSWIRE)
"Some of the upper bowl, we have reduced prices," he said. "One of the strategic issues with the Jaguars is it is a young team. We don’t have the second-, third-, fourth-generation fans. 'I went to a game with my grandfather, and we walked through two feet of snow,' — and things like that. You don’t have any of those connections. This year … if you bring a child to the game, those tickets are half price. In certain sections we are doing that … to really develop the next generation. "

Part of that includes expanding the Jaguars brand beyond the United States.

"London: There is an ex-pat population; they understand the sport and [have] an interest. Canada would be another one. Germany is another one. People don’t realize how many football fans, NFL fans, are in Germany. Spain is another one; Barcelona is a very sports-centric city. … Especially for teams like Jacksonville, it provides a showcase."

Ultimately, popularity comes down to one thing: winning. That's something the Jags haven't done since 2007, which was also the only time the franchise won a playoff game during Jack Del Rio's eight-plus years as head coach. Now that chore falls to new head coach Mike Mularkey and second-year quarterback Blaine Gabbert.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 3:32 pm
 

MJD talks about new Jaguars coach Mike Mularkey

By Will Brinson

Maurice Jones-Drew had a fantastic personal season in 2011, but the same can't really be said for his team. The Jaguars struggled mightily on offense (MJD aside) and it cost Jack Del Rio his job.

We caught up with "MoJo" and OCNN correspondent/contest winner Cassidy Quinn on Radio Row in Indianapolis to talk about his burgeoning media empire, what kind of media member he is, whether Mike Mularkey can jump start the Jaguars offense, what the Jaguars need to acquire in the offseason, and if Blaine Gabbert's the answer at quarterback.

All that plus much, much more.



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Posted on: February 2, 2012 7:27 pm
 

Khan: '100 percent I would have' drafted Tebow

Khan's a big fan of Tebow. (Getty Images)
By Will Brinson

New Jaguars owner Shahid Khan's done a lot to infuse Jacksonville with a burst of Jaguars-related energy since he bought the team from Wayne Weaver earlier in the year.

But his comments on WOKV radio Thursday should put the wrong kind of energy in the city, as Khan said that

"100 percent I would have [drafted Tebow]" Khan said, via Gregg Rosenthal of PFT. "Absolutely ... Obviously the Rams drafted Sam Bradford, and I was talking to Wayne then on what they ought to do."

"I should have an offline conversation with you, OK? I’m going to absolutely talk your ear off,” Khan told WOKV this week. “Some of the stuff might not be politically correct, but I share your sentiment. I think, when is the next time Jacksonville is going to have an athlete like Tim Tebow?”

But wait -- there's more. Khan, who just signed general manager Gene Smith to a three-year extension, ripped the Jaguars draft history.

"I don’t want to get into 20/20 hindsight, and God help us, the draft record has not been the best with the Jaguars," Khan said.

Khan's correct: the Jaguars draft history hasn't been good, for the most part. (Our pal Maurice Jones-Drew, an absolute steal at 60th overall in 2006, might disagree though.) But if Khan thinks that drafting Tebow at 10th overall in 2010 would've been a smart decision based on anything other than business, he's sorely mistaken.

Which is probably why he told Gene Frenette of the Florida Times-Union that he would only have taken Tebow "after a trade down." There wasn't a whole lot of room to make that move, of course, because Tebow went just 15 picks later, when Josh McDaniels used one of the Broncos two first-round picks that year on the Florida quarterback.

And there's probably not a lot of room here for Khan either. Perhaps he was just saying that he loves Tim Tebow. Or perhaps he wished the Jags drafted Tebow to crank up the profitability.

But either way, he's undermining his players -- most notably current quarterback Blaine Gabbert --  and his general manager with a statement like that, and it's reason to press pause on the new-ownership party in North Florida.

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Posted on: January 15, 2012 11:11 am
Edited on: January 15, 2012 3:43 pm
 

Falcons hire Dirk Koetter as new OC

Dirk Koetter has been hired as Atlanta's offensive coordinator (US Presswire).By Josh Katzowitz

Falcons coach Mike Smith and former Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter will be reunited as the Falcons announced the hiring of Koetter as their offensive coordinator on Sunday.

Koetter replaces Mike Mularkey, who was hired as Jacksonville’s head coach.

"I am very pleased to add Coach Koetter as our offensive coordinator," Smith said in a statement released by the team.  "Dirk is a veteran offensive coach who will bring years of NFL experience as an offensive coordinator as well as a fresh set of ideas to our offense. He is bright, he understands the intricacies of the vertical passing game, but he also wants to be able to run the football which is very important in the NFL.

"I look forward to working with Dirk and have tremendous confidence that he will be a great addition to our team and our coaching staff."

Koetter beat out an apparent interview list that included Brian Billick, Brian Schottenheimer and Packers quarterback coach Tom Clements in order to win the job from his old Jacksonville mate.

Koetter was hired as Jacksonville's offensive coordinator in 2007. He worked with Smith for one year. Smith was the Jaguars' defensive coordinator before he became Atlanta's head coach in 2008.

While Koetter’s offense didn’t impress this season -- even with the league’s leading rusher, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jacksonville finished last in the league in yards gained and 28th in points scored -- the Jaguars have been better under Koetter in years past. Not great, mind you. But closer to league average as opposed to league worst.

At the very least, Koetter will get to work with a franchise quarterback for the first time as an offensive coordinator, after spending his previous years dealing with David Garrard from 2007-10 and the disappointing rookie Blaine Gabbert last year. Matt Ryan will be quite an upgrade from those two.

Koetter inherits an offense blessed with established starters such as quarterback Matt Ryan, running back Michael Turner, tight end Tony Gonzalez and receivers Roddy White and Julio Jones. With the exception of Jones, who was a breakout rookie in 2011, all those playmakers, plus fullback Ovie Mughelli, have been Pro Bowl selections.

But Atlanta fans shouldn’t expect a huge change in offensive philosophy. As NFL analyst Adam Caplan notes, Murlakey and Koetter run a similar style of offense.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnNFL on Twitter, Like Us on Facebook, subscribe to our NFL newsletter, and while you're add it, add our RSS Feed.
Posted on: January 5, 2012 4:25 pm
 

Khan believes Gabbert is Jax's QB of future

KhanBy Josh Katzowitz

While there have been plenty of questions whether Blaine Gabbert is the Jaguars quarterback of the future, new Jacksonville owner Shahid Khan isn’t the one doing the questioning. In his mind, Gabbert is the guy -- for him and for whomever the next coach will be.

"I think a key question you have to ask any potential coach, what are you going to do to develop him?” Khan said on WKOV radio, via the Florida Times Union. “How do you make him the best he can be? Really, I've been asking them point blank, 'Can you work with him?' And so far everybody says he's great.”

As you can see from our handy Coaching Rumors post, most, if not all, of the Jaguars interview plans revolved around offensive coordinators, including New York’s Brian Schottenheimer, Cincinnati’s Jay Gruden, Carolina’s Rob Chudzinski and Atlanta’s Mike Mularkey.

With the quarterback turmoil experienced last season (cutting David Garrard, playing Gabbert, experimenting with Luke McCown, etc.), the franchise needs to find a way to help Gabbert become a legit starter. Because, in Khan’s mind, that’s exactly what he is.
 
"I think he [Gabbert] is going to be a great quarterback,” Khan said. “I think he is our franchise quarterback. I think he needs development. We want to develop him. We want to give him tools. A dedicated coach. And I think he's going to be great."

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Posted on: January 1, 2012 2:34 pm
 

Colts well on their way to No. 1 draft pick

Indianapolis is struggling with Jacksonville (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

Despite their two-game winning streak, a stretch that likely saved coach Jim Caldwell’s job, the Colts today look like their well on their way to the No. 1 pick in the 2012 NFL draft. All they need to do is lose to the Jaguars, and so far, Indianapolis is doing exactly that, falling behind 10-3 to Jacksonville at halftime. 

Colts quarterback Dan Orlovsky, who has looked decent enough in the past two games, is 9 of 16 for 75 yards and an interception, and the running game has gained a paltry 19 yards.

Blaine Gabbert has been oddly effective, completing 8 of 11 passes for 64 yards and a touchdown, but your future NFL rushing leader Maurice Jones-Drew has had a wonderful day, gaining 84 yards on 16 carries.

On the first possession of the game, the Colts made a nice goal-line stand, including a stuff of Jones-Drew on fourth and goal from the 1, and it looked like Indianapolis was primed to get itself out of the No. 1 spot for Andrew Luck.

It looks like the opposite of that at this point.


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Posted on: December 30, 2011 4:57 pm
Edited on: December 30, 2011 4:58 pm
 

Top Ten with a Twist: Draft needs

A. Luck should be a No. 1 selection in next year's draft. Who will select him, though (US Presswire).

By Josh Katzowitz

As we enter the final weekend of the season, a number of squads are just playing out the string, hoping to put a solid performance on film, ready to clean out their lockers and look ahead to next year. While only four games on this week’s schedule mean absolutely nothing in terms of the postseason, quite a few of those teams are just looking to play spoiler.

And looking to the 2012 draft, where they can begin to rebuild their team or shore up that one position that could put them over the hump for next season. That’s why we’re taking the 10-worst teams in the league this year and finding one major flaw that needs to be fixed from April 26-28 in New York City’s Radio Music Hall.

For these teams -- and their fans -- the time has come to salivate at the prospects of landing the exact right guy that could change their fortunes for years to come.

10. Bills: Defensive line -- I didn’t like the Ryan Fitzpatrick $59 million extension earlier this year, and I hate it now. But I think Buffalo has other concerns for the moment, and they come on defense. For one, Buffalo has a tough time stopping the run. First-round pick Marcell Dareus has been a bit inconsistent at the nose tackle, but he also has the ability to play like a monster. The 3-4  ends, though, need to be better. Injured tackle Kyle Williams obviously will help when he returns next season, but the ability to rush the passer once in a while also would help (Buffalo’s 25 sacks ranks 30th in the league).

9. Dolphins: Quarterback -- Look, the Dolphins have some talent. They proved that when Tony Sparano’s job was on the line, and they started winning games. They proved it by nearly beating Tom Brady, and they proved it by nearly beating Tim Tebow (that last point was a joke). While Matt Moore has been much better than expected after taking over for Chad Henne, he’s a Band-Aid. I think most of us would agree that Henne isn’t the answer as the starter, and perhaps, he and Moore could have a battle to see who could back-up a legit starting quarterback. Reggie Bush established himself as a 1,000-yard rusher, and with a talented quarterback like Robert Griffin III (if he lasts that long in the draft), the Dolphins could begin pushing for AFC East crowns.

8. Browns: Pass rushers -- Cleveland got two defensive linemen early last year (tackle Phil Taylor in the first round and end Jabaal Sheard in the second), and they’ve done a nice job on the left side of the defensive line. But the defense ranks 25th in the league in sacks, and defensive end Jayme Mitchell hasn’t had a great season. Marcus Benard, coming off a solid rookie season last year, is on IR, and if the Browns could get one more high-end rusher in the draft, they’d have talent and depth.

7. Redskins: Quarterback -- It’s probably time for Mike Shanahan to come to the realization that his quarterback picks the past two years have been disastrous (Donovan McNabb, Rex Grossman, John Beck). He said the other day that the rebuild of this franchise has taken more time than he thought, but a standout quarterback obviously would help that process along. Shanahan also said that there was no question in his mind that he’d be back next season, but unless he finds a way to invigorate his offense, that might be a different story this time next year.

6. Chiefs: Right tackle -- Looking across Kansas City’s depth chart, there’s not one position group that so obviously needs to be overhauled. The Chiefs have talent, even if some of those positions don’t have much depth. But right tackle Barry Richardson has badly struggled this season. According Pro Football Focus, Richardson is the worst-rated offensive tackle in the league (the decision to cut Jared Gaither near the end of the season was a bad one). Left tackle Branden Albert is solid, but the right side of the line needs to be reworked.

Minnesota's secondary has been a big concern this year (US Presswire).5. Buccaneers: Run defenders -- The Buccaneers tried to shore up their defensive end spots last draft, taking Adrian Clayborn in the first round and Da’Quan Bowers in the second round. Considering Tampa Bay ranks dead last in sacks, the experiment hasn’t paid off immediate dividends. But the Buccaneers are also terrible against the run, and even though tackle Albert Haynesworth has played better than most of us had a right to expect, there are still huge holes to fill in the lineup.

4. Vikings: Secondary -- The Vikings rank as the 31st-worst defense in the NFL, but in reality, their front seven has talent (for instance, Jared Allen, Kevin Williams and Chad Greenway). Minnesota lost Antoine Winfield (its best corner) early in the year, Chris Cook has legal troubles, safety Jamarca  Sanford has struggled badly and the rest of the safeties have been ravaged by injuries. It’s no  wonder opposing quarterbacks dominate the Vikings defensive backs. On the season, Minnesota has recorded seven interceptions, worst in the NFL. The Vikings need to find somebody who can force turnovers in order to improve this unit.

3. Jaguars: Receivers – Oh, how they need receivers. Yes, Blaine Gabbert has been, by far, the worst rookie quarterback to play this year, but Jacksonville, even with new ownership and a new coach, probably needs to give him more than a season to see if he’s a quarterback of the future. He also needs somebody who can catch his passes. Here are Jacksonville’s top-three receivers: Mike Thomas, Jarret Dillard, and yeah, nobody else. In fact, there’s a good chance running back Maurice Jones-Drew will end up as the team’s leading pass-catcher this season. Hard to blame Gabbert completely when his receiving corps is so bad.

2. Colts: Running backs -- Assuming Peyton Manning returns healthy next season -- admittedly, a huge assumption -- his receivers should continue to be fine (this, of course, depends on what happens with free agents Reggie Wayne and Pierre Garcon). But we’ve seen this year that without a running game, a Manning-less Colts squad has very little chance of doing anything (mostly because Manning makes up for SO many team deficiencies). Joseph Addai, who’s averaging 3.8 yards per carry and probably won’t get to 500 rushing yards on the season for the second year in a row, might be released into free agency, and Donald Brown, while improved, isn’t a legit No. 1 running back. The Colts obviously have a big decision to make regarding Manning and Andrew Luck, but taking a running back probably wouldn’t be a bad idea.

1.Rams: Offensive linemen -- There’s been talk that maybe the Rams should grab Luck if they end up with the No. 1 pick. Which, with Sam Bradford on the team, would be ludicrous. Instead, St. Louis should be focused on how to put together an offensive line that doesn’t lead the league in sacks allowed. The biggest problem, not including injuries to Jason Smith and Jacob Bell that have hurt the unit, has been the line’s interior. Linemen aren’t the sexiest position, but damn, St. Louis needs to find some that can stay healthy and keep Bradford and Steven Jackson out of danger.

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Posted on: December 22, 2011 7:10 pm
Edited on: December 22, 2011 7:11 pm
 

Tucker calls Gabbert 'courageous in the pocket'

Rookie QB Gabbert has had a long season but his head coach has his back. (Getty Images)

By Ryan Wilson

Jaguars' first-round pick Blaine Gabbert looks the part: a tall, strapping quarterback with a big arm and plenty of upside. It’s just that, four months into the season -- and 12 weeks into his life as a rookie starting quarterback in the NFL -- he’s looked completely and utterly lost. To the point that Monday Night Football’s Jon Gruden, who never seems to have a sour word to say about anyone during a telecast, has on several occasions wondered if Gabbert has what it takes to make it in this league based solely on his jittery pocket presence.

Granted, the circumstances define extenuating. Jacksonville dumped longtime starter David Garrard days before the season opener and replaced him with Luke McCown. When that experiment failed two weeks later (we were shocked too), Gabbert was thrown in the deep end without arm floaties. To continue the water metaphor, the subsequent 13 games have gone something like this: Gabbert treads water until the point of exhaustion and then he’s mauled by a shark in gruesome fashion on national television.

In addition to Gruden’s observations, NFL Films’ Greg Cosell noted that “[Gabbert’s] issue was never his arm but rather his willingness to command the pocket and deliver the ball with bodies around him.”

The Florida Times-Union’s Tania Ganguli adds that Trent Dilfer has called Gabbert timid, and Joe Theismann said he looked like a shrinking violet. It’s not all bad news.

But Gabbert has a supporter in interim Jags coach Mel Tucker.

"I see Blaine as being courageous in the pocket," Tucker said via Ganguli. "I see him as being super-tough. I see him being very, very competitive and my feeling is that his teammates and his coaches feel the same way.”

And really, what else is Tucker going to say? He’s filling in for recently canned Jack Del Rio, the team has a new owner, and he’d like to be considered for the full-time job. And given that general manager Gene Smith (who signed a three-year extension before Wayne Weaver sold the Jags earlier this month) drafted Gabbert, you don’t need an oracle to predict Tucker’s public stance.

Still, he also understands that Jacksonville’s offense is putrid and no amount of wishful thinking will change that.

"Obviously, yeah, I mean he needs to improve in some areas and he’d be the first to tell you, and I’ve stated that before. He needs to continue to improve," Tucker continued. "I think he’s made some strides, I know he’s made some strides and we have to continue to get better around him."

The first order of business: mandatory mustaches for all players and coaches.


The Tennessee Titans look to stay alive in the AFC playoff hunt when they host the Jacksonville Jaguars this Saturday at 1:00 PM ET on CBS. Join NFL.com's Pat Kirwan and Jason Horowitz for a preview of this matchup.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com