Not the bottom of the barrel
There's more short-term hope for Blaine Gabbert than most suggest.
Will I draft him? Not outside of leagues where taking three QBs is the norm. I'm marginally more inclined to make him my third, though, in those cavernous formats because of new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. The former University of Miami OC incorporates more free-flowing, intermediate-depth dissection than the Jacksonville Jaguars' last two vertically inclined directors.
Dirk Koetter, who now relishes working with Matt Ryan, has a productive plan but couldn't do much with a rookie QB surrounded by little offensive talent in 2011. Last year, former Cincinnati Bengals architect Bob Bratkowski, who helped enhance the downfield game of Chad Johnson back when he was relevant, tried to shoehorn a deep-leaning philosophy into the arm of Gabbert and Henne, two less-than-apt options.
Fisch's direction opens up more of the field for creative outlets to avoid turnovers. Ergo, Gabbert could take bigger advantage of after-the-catch beast Justin Blackmon (man, I wanna own him somewhere) upon his return from a four-game suspension. Cecil Shorts, if healthy, will continue opening up the field. Luke Joeckel's presence at RT may buy him more time, as well, on the strong side. A healthy Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) will push this offense further, too.
Note the tone: Might, could, may ... when you're spending pennies, you can live on such conditionals. In the totem of QB production, Gabbert isn't going to be a 1. But in the ever-volatile backup ranks, there's a better chance than ever that he'll offer fill-in value for at least a few weeks.
Gabbert should outperform Matt Flynn and Mark Sanchez, so that's ... something. Either way, don't label him as "nothing."
About Tim Heaney
Tim's work has been featured by USA Today/Sports Weekly, among numerous outlets, and recognized as a finalist in the Fantasy Sports Writers Association awards. The Boston University alum competes in Tout Wars and LABR and has won several industry leagues in both baseball and football.
During baseball and football season, hear him every Wednesday on 1570 AM WNST in Baltimore. On Thursdays, he visits 106.1 FM WMTI in New Orleans and Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio, where he often crashes other shows, as well.
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